For my June race this year I decided to do the Touch of Grace 5K in Morganton on June 30, 2017.
A Touch of Grace is an animal welfare fund established in memory of Gracie Avery, a sixteen year old beagle mix, that passed away on December 11, 2016. Gracie lived a normal life until she was almost four years old, at which time she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her left hind leg. (Short lesson: Osteosarcoma was normally diagnosed in large breed male dogs, average age of 7 1/2 yrs old, and 90% would pass away in 6 months of diagnosis, so she did not meet any of the normal criteria for having this disease) Initally the vets thought it was her ACL and she had surgery to repair that. When she didn't heal to use her leg the cancer was then diagnosed 5 1/2 months after what we thought was an injury. Long story short....Miss Gracie was a miracle dog....with only a 10% chance of surviving this cancer, her leg was amputated. One month later she developed a very painful neuroma at the amputation site, but the vet was able to go in and "kill" that nerve and she fully recovered. Gracie was such an inspiration to everyone that she met...such a humble dog that never demanded much attention. Her life changed when she was invited to be the Pack Leader at the Bark for Life event in 2013. A star was born that day...she was the pack leader, won the swimsuit contest, and made many lifetime friends. She was a regular at the event, and this past year was a celebrity judge for the various dog costume contests. Gracie also appeared several times on WBTV as the Prime Pic of the Day, walked in the Morganton Christmas Parade, and threw the best birthday parties and donated all her gifts to a local animal rescue. Gracie lived her life with a big touch of God's grace and was blessed to have lived for 16 years and 10 months. After her passing some of her and her mom's friends wanted to do something in her memory to help other animals. A zumbathon was held to raise funds and A Touch of Grace animal welfare fund was established to benefit animals that are in need of medical care, love, and a touch of grace. They have since formed a committee that will oversee how the funds are spent and regular updates will be posted to their facebook page so that everyone that donates can see the good their money has done and meet the various animals helped.
I also decided I would run this race with my Beagle Mix Snickers in honor of Gracie. Cocoa, my other beagle mix, really wanted to run but she can't make it three miles. They are eleven years old and Cocoa has had some health issues. Luckily, I found a friend who had a doggie stroller that I could borrow so Cocoa could go too!
From the second I told them we were headed to the park they were so super excited!! I just love puppy excitement!
The puppy girls had some race day nerves and I could tell their adrenalin was pumping like most of the other runners there. They were not the only dogs, many brought out their furry running partners too.
Two of my other running buddies came as well along with their moms, my running BRFs! It was a little like hearding cats trying to get a group photo lol!
The course was along the local greenway and was held in the evening.
We started off the race with Elizabeth pushing the stroller with Cocoa and me running along side of them.
Cocoa really felt that she could handle the run and wanted out. We ended up putting her out and in the stroller several times along the course. When Cocoa was out of the stroller we walked at a pretty slow strolling pace but that was ok, I was just so happy to see how happy they were and we knew going this would be no time record for us! Cocoa also did better in the stroller when I was pushing her. I think it made her feel certain I wouldn't leave her. For the most part I pushed her and snickers ran along side me. Snickers also slowed way down toward the end and so we walked most of the course.
As we got toward the finish, Elizabeth took back over for me, pushing a stroller is a work out lol!
This was a super fun "race" and we will certainly do this again!!!
Cocoa and Snickers are looking for more doggie friendly races! We will be on the look out but if you know of any good ones close by let me know!