The fastest dog in Hanoi

Two weekends ago Tala competed in her first ever timed 10k race. While she didn’t win (probably more to do with her running partner – me – than her), she was the fastest (and only) dog so until challenged I am giving her the title of the fastest dog in Hanoi! The time to beat is 47 minutes 48 seconds… Official results for the race here. Thank you Red River Runners for organizing and letting Tala take part!

Tala has been competitive from an early age… Below is her at 6 weeks jostling for milk with her siblings (She’s the tenacious brown one in the middle). Doesn’t she now look just like her mother?

She then started running with our horses at about four months… She loved it!

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After moving to Hanoi, her freedom was restricted as she always has to be on her lead (other than the odd whip around on a tennis court) for safety reasons (traffic and vicious dogs), but somehow she still manages to get a lot of exercise! For all the people who said we shouldn’t bring a dog to Hanoi, we have made it work and I definitely think she lives a far better life here than living on the streets of Khartoum…

Her life is pretty active even in the city. Whether it be jumping vertically for toys in our apartment or jumping over obstacles out on our walks….

She also runs with the bicycle (there are some long, relatively quiet stretches around the Citadel), which allows her to get up more speed than our runs. She can keep up a 3:30/km pace for 5km (perhaps longer – we haven’t tried yet) on the bike.

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We’ve been running together now for the last two years and it is one of the best ways to get exercise in the city. It also turns out that Nubian Hounds are probably up there with Viszlas and Rhodesian Ridgebacks in terms of the perfect running dog – long legs, great endurance, and a short coat which helps in the hotter months.

I was really keen to do the 10k race as a bit of a challenge to see how hard it would be to run a real race with her. My goal was to run it in sub 50 minutes.

As I had anticipated, she spent the first kilometer or so pulling quite hard as her competitive spirit wanted to be in the lead, but with the winner running sub 40 minutes that was never going to happen. After the second kilometer she settled into her normal rhythm which is a relaxed lope that seems to go perfectly with about a 4:45-5:00/km pace. Unfortunately, on one loop, where we passed the runners who were behind us, she saw my husband and spent the next few hundred meters turning her head back looking for him, confused why we weren’t waiting. I made sure on the next loop to distract her so she couldn’t spot him! The only other thing that slowed us down by about 20 seconds was a very quick loo stop by Tala at about kilometer 6, where she had a bit of a Paula Radcliffe moment… Conveniently she did it 20 ft from a bin and I was of course carrying at bag!

From then on we cruised along with only the slippery pavement slowing us (me) down. We probably actually ran the last 50 meters a little faster as we were chased by a small yappy dog who had escaped from a house right by the finish line! All in all a great day. I can’t wait till we are either in the UK or US and can try the new sport – canicross – cross country running with dogs! Here is a fun blog¬†which explains more about it.

Luckily despite being a bit of a speed demon Tala is equally happy at home on the sofa, moving as little as possible! This photo was taken now as I write… It’s raining, 10:30am on a Sunday, and she has absolutely no desire to go outside – let alone run!

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