Image: ABC Goldfields: Isabel Moussalli
A stray dog named Stormy in the outback in Western Australia spontaneously decided to run a half marathon alongside human competitors. The Goldfields Pipeline Marathon, which follows a historic pipeline that supplied water to nearby Kalgoorlie, is an off-road race that has a marathon, half marathon and 10K event.
After making himself known to his fellow runners on the start line of the half marathon, Stormy took off with them all on the starting gun, passing through each checkpoint along the course.
Marathon volunteer coordinator Allison Hunter told ABC News: “This dog is walking around, making itself known to all the runners. We get the air horn out and say ‘Go’ and off he goes with everybody.”
Race organiser Grant Wholey said Stormy crossed the finish line around two-and-a-half hours later, which is around the average finishing time for the event. Wholey added the four-legged competitor hadn’t been taking it as seriously as other runners – “he probably spent a fair bit of time at the different stations saying hello to everybody.”
The dog, who is thought to be from a nearby Aboriginal community was whisked away by rangers at the finish line, and is now up for adoption by the council, unless his rightful owners come forward. It’s understood that a number of his fellow runners have expressed an interest in giving Stormy a home.
Whilst he’s been behind bars, Stormy has had a number of visitors from his new-found running community, Wholey saying “we thought he deserved a medal since he had done the whole thing.
“Allison and I went down to the rangers, gave him a medal and gave him more exposure so hopefully the owner might see.”
When speaking about the chances of Stormy returning to race again next year, Wholey said unfortunately, this wasn’t the half marathon for him – “where we finish is a pet-free zone, so Stormy is going to have to spectate from the side-lines next year.”
Well done Stormy.