RunGo Virtual Dash for Dogs 2021 – All the Puppies!

Virtual Dash for Dogs

Puppies! Who could resist? A charitable cause! What better excuse for a run?

OK, so I didn’t get to see any *actual* puppies during the 2021 RunGo Virtual Dash for Dogs, but I was more than happy to contribute to the very worthy cause of the BC and Alberta Guide Dogs.

Although I ran a few virtual races over the past year, which have kept me motivated during the pandemic, the Dash for Dogs was unique for a couple of reasons:

Multiple Distances: Rather than a single race, the Virtual Dash for Dogs included 5 themed distances, coinciding with the stages of a guide dog’s life, from birth, through training and graduation:

  • Puppy Pen 2k – Stanley Park course #1
  • Puppy Explore 5k – Stanley Park course #2
  • Puppy Focus 5k – Calgary course
  • Puppy Skills 10k- Stanley Park course #3
  • Puppy Graduation 3k – UBC course

Participants had the opporutnity to run one, any or all of the races, and track their progress on RunGo!

RunGo: The RunGo app provides turn-by-turn directions along your running routes. The Virtual Dash for Dogs was enhanced with voiceovers from (what I believe were) employees and volunteers of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs. Every few minutes during the run, you’d receive a message relating a slice-of-life story about the guide dog puppies – right from the moment of birth up to their graduation into the world of professional guide dogging!

While there was always the option of running the *actual* route, I chose to stick close to home when running all five distances (as you can see above!). I experienced some feelings of nostalgia listening to the directions for running in Stanley Park, picturing the various trails and landmarks – and the final stretch at Brockton Oval. How I miss running with friends in these familiar venues!

After each run, I uploaded my results via the app to the event leaderboard, and got an adorable puppy badge for each race! Based on distance and time, I somehow ended up in 4th place – a nice surprise.

Virtual Dash for Dogs

Within a few days of completing the Virtual Dash for Dogs, I received a much-anticipated package in the mail. It included a puppy-branded dust cloth, a dog-themed bandana and – a nice riff on the typical medal – a Finisher dog tag!

Virtual Dash for Dogs

As we continue to anticipate an eventual return to in-person racing (sometime in the coming year?), I sincerely hope that virtual races will continue to be an option. They provide the opportunity for participants to join in on the fun, anywhere or anytime – love the flexibility these events offer! Let’s see what happens with the 2022 RunGo Dash for Dogs!

*Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the 2021 Dash for Dogs from RunGo founder, Craig Slagel. Thanks, Craig!

Virtual Dash for Dogs
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