Olympic runner launches Great South Run for dogs in Portsmouth

Olympian Laura Muir has launched the first ever Simplyhealth Canine Run
Olympian Laura Muir has launched the first ever Simplyhealth Canine Run

IT’S time for our beloved fluffy friends to take the spotlight, as 100 dogs and their owners are being called upon to take part in the first ever Canine Run, during the same weekend as the iconic Great South Run.

British middle distance runner and recently qualified vet Laura Muir today launched the 2.5k run, on Southsea seafront, starting and finishing on Clarence Esplanade on October 20.

Laura, who is the 1500m British record holder and World Indoor silver medallist, will be setting everyone on their way as honorary starter.

She said: ‘I’m thrilled to be part of the very first Simplyhealth Canine Run. 

‘As well as being a runner I recently qualified as a vet and know how important it is to keep dogs fit and healthy.

‘It’s vital that dogs get plenty of safe and fun exercise with their owners and for some breeds changing the usual walk to a run can be a really positive sensory experience.

‘It can really help to increase the bond between pet and owner but you should always check with your vet first to make sure the training plan is suitable.’

The event is the first of its kind in the Simplyhealth Great Run Series. It will take place on the morning of Saturday 20th October before the Simplyhealth Great South 5k and the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great South Run.

There will be a bespoke dog-only area in the event village.

Each dog will be accompanied by one owner to run the 2.5k course and once they cross the finish line, dogs will be rewarded with a collar tag and a treat, while their owners will receive a Simplyhealth Canine Run t-shirt.

Sally Clarke, director of vets at Simplyhealth, said the company is delighted to have put a spotlight on pets for the first time in Great Run Series history.

She said: ‘The Simplyhealth Great Run series promotes health and wellbeing and we have an amazing opportunity to also address the needs of the furry members of the family.

‘Canine fitness is about diet, exercise and of course high quality veterinary care. Having veterinary professionals join the team of volunteers on the day and share their expertise in preventive health helps ensure those positive messages are heard by tens of thousands of people.’

To take part in the run, all participants – both dogs and their owners - will need to be well behaved and in a fit condition to run 2.5 kilometres. If this distance is longer than normal runs or walks, then a training plan should be put in place.

While an on-site vet will be on hand on the day to deal with any emergencies, owners should also make sure that they consult their vet ahead of the run to check through their dog’s training plan and ensure they are in great shape to take part.

Tips on how to prepare for the Simplyhealth Canine Run

To enter or to find out more about the Simplyhealth Canine Run click here.