Putting Their Best Paws Forward: Dogs Enjoy Road Racing, Too

Published: Jun 26, 2022 07:00 AM

Road and trail races are typically — but not always — for humans. That’s right, sometimes man’s best friend, make that runner’s best friend, likes to get in on the excitement.

And as long as the pavement is not too hot, why not?

Not unlike other road races, there were some dogs who accompanied their owners for the Rooster Run, at Fairfield Hills, on June 18.

One of them, Labradoodle Happy, jogged the 5K course with North Haven’s Scott Jezierng.

“He’s a member of the 169 group,” said Jezierng, referring to the Run 169 Towns Society, to which he also belongs.

The Run 169 Towns Society is a contingent of runners who seek to run in all 169 towns/cities throughout Connecticut. For towns that did not have road races, members of the group started them, making this impressive goal attainable for the most committed of runners.

The Rooster Run is a repeat race for Jezierng, who is approaching the finish line, having conquered races in 165 Connecticut towns. For Happy, he is well on his way to stardom as well, having put his best paws forward in a whopping 125 of them.

There is only one canine who has accomplished running in all 169: Quinn, a Labrador Retriever. Jezierng said Happy is in line to become only the second dog to complete the mission.

“It’s fun. He’s 9 and a half. He’s slowing down but it’s fun — he still likes it,” Jezierng said.

Sandy Hook’s Eli Hatcher brought the family dog, a lab named Chandler, to run the 5K as part of an entire family effort (see related story on Page B-1).

“It was fun. I walked most of it, but I ran the last little part,” Hatcher said.

The dogs may not be as concerned about times and placement as their companions, stopping to sniff the smells along the way.

One thing is for sure, while dogs may be on leash, they do have some more freedom than their owners.

“He took care of business, but he mostly stayed focused,” Hatcher said.

The finish line included a refreshing drink of water. For dogs and their owners, there were some goodies provided by Newtown Veterinary Specialists.

If you run with your dog, in competitions or simply for exercise, and would like to be highlighted in the paper, please let us know via the e-mail address below.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andy@thebee.com.

Happy runs with owner Scott Jezierng during the Rooster Run 5K on June 18. Both are members of the Run 169 Towns Society, in which people (and pets) do a race in every Connecticut town/city. —Bee Photos, Hutchison

Eli Hatcher runs with Chandler during the 5K race.

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