Get Fit with Fido
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Not all races need to be about getting a new PR—sometimes they can just be about having fun with your best friend. And hey, if that friend happens to have four legs, even better! A growing number of races are catering to people who want to bring their pooch along too, which is no surprise since research shows dog owners are 34 percent more likely than non-owners to get the recommended amount of exercise. (If you're still looking for an excuse to get a furry friend, let us convince you with the Top 15 Ways Puppies Improve Your Health.) Speedier breeds will love the 1-mile race category, while dogs wanting to test their endurance can stretch their legs in 5Ks or even half marathons.
Before race day, just remember that just like you needed to train for your first race, Fido does too. Check out The Ultimate Guide to Running With Your Dog before you guys hit the pavement.
Watering Bowl Dog Mile: St. Louis, MO
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Dogs have been welcome at the recreational wave of the Macklind Mile for years, but now they're leading the pack with their very own race within the event, the Watering Bowl Dog Mile. Both you and your dog get a bib and chip, though they'll need to stay leashed throughout the race. You'll get 20 minutes to complete the 1-mile course with the overall top dog taking home a prize. Last year's winners, Brandon Janosky and Dash (pictured here) finished in 4:35!
Photo: Big River Running
World Championship Dog Mile: Santa Barbara, CA
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If you and your dog don't mess around with sprints, join this fierce fight to the finish line, considered the World Championship of dog mile races. The course is a fast gradual downhill through the scenic downtown area. At the 2016 event, winners Brian Duff and Kaydom (a Weimaraner) took the title with a time of 4:13, the fastest known human-dog mile performance.
Photo: Justine Diaz / EventPRO
IAMS Flying Fur Run: Cincinnati, OH
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This laid-back 2-mile event is part of the Flying Pig Marathon, which pays homage to the city's history of pork production. Human participants receive a T-shirt, while dogs take home a collapsible water bowl (#swag).
Photo: IAMS Flying Fur Run
Columbia Gorge Half Marathon Dog Leg: Portland, OR
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For seasoned runners (humans and dogs alike), this race begins as the last wave in the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon. The miles will fly by in what is considered "the most scenic marathon in the country." There's also an option to walk the race or participate in a team relay. Random prizes are awarded as teams cross the finish line, but this race is all about enjoying the ride.
Photo: Scott McMullen
Furry 5K: Seattle, WA
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If your pet likes to party (and you like race expos), you guys will love the Pet-a-Palooza that follows this traditional 3.1-mile course. Vendor booths, entertainment from dogs showing off their agility skills, and even a cover model search for CityDog Magazine (bring your dry shampoodle). Proceeds go to the Seattle Animal Shelter.
Photo: Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital
U.S. Canine Biathlon: Anniston, AL
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If obstacle races are more your thing, this 3.5-mile course lets your dog do each challenge right beside you. Just don't be surprised if your dog is way better than you at crawling under fences and hopping across tires.
The Furry Scurry: Denver, CO
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After this 2-mile walk/run to benefit the Dumb Friends League, a local animal welfare organization, you and your dog can try out an agility course, wander the "Flea-less Market," or enter the Doggy Doppelganger contest.
Photo: Dumb Friends League