I recently read this feel-good book called Arthur, which is a true story about a stray dog that tagged along with a Swedish adventure racing team whilst they were racing in Equador.
I was very keen to read this book as I remember hearing about the story of this dog on social media a few years back shortly after I had taken part in my first ever full moon 120km adventure race, which is an entry level race to this sport. For anyone that has not heard of adventure racing before here is a great summary of what this sport entails, written by Lisa de Speville, an accomplished South African adventurer:
“Adventure racing is a multi-discipline multi-day endurance sport where competitors compete in teams of four, navigating from checkpoint to checkpoint to cover vast areas in a number of disciplines. Sprint and short course categories now exist, luring those hesitant adventurers out for a morning or day of gloriously dirty, off-road fun.
Disciplines frequently include: mountain biking, kayaking, abseiling, orienteering and hiking. Each event will differ from the next and could include any of the following: kloofing, caving, swimming (sea/river/lake), coasteering, rock climbing, traversing, sea kayaking, obstacles & tasks, white river kayaking, snow/ice/glacier crossing… This is the charm of this sport – each event location is unique and it is up to the creativity of the race organiser to exploit the environment by incorporating unusual disciplines. Teams are expected to navigate using a compass and 1:50 000 topographical maps. GPS-assisted navigation is not allowed. “
The race that the author of the book, Mikael Lindnord and his fellow teammates at Team Peak Performance were racing in, was a 700km Adventure Racing World Series race in the jungles and mountains of Equador in November 2014. During the race, Mikael threw a meatball to a stray dog that was hanging around the team. From that moment onwards this dog continued to follow the team through some seriously tough terrain and river crossings and in the end the team finished the race with a fifth member. Mikael then goes onto tell the story of how he managed to save this stray dog he called Arthur and bring him back to his family in Sweden.
The book is a really easy read (I finished it in two days!) and if you are a dog lover like I am you will particularly enjoy this heart-warming story about Arthur. After reading this book, I have also been inspired to take on another adventure race this year, which I will share more on once I have confirmed the details.
If you are interested to find out more about Adventure Racing, I would recommend you check out the South African Adventure Racing website www.ar.co.za. To also check out upcoming adventure race events in South Africa I would recommend you check out Kinetic Events that offer sprint, short course and expedition adventure races.