The first rule of adventure racing is that anything is possible. The story of Arthur the dog is a perfect example.
It all started when the Swedish Peak Performance Team captain Mikael Lindnord nonchalantly shared a meatball with a scruffy stray dog while preparing to embark on a 40 km jungle trek during the final stages of the Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador.
It began when Swedish Peak Performance Team captain Mikael Lindnord shared a meatball with a stray dog, named Arthur, as the team prepared for the gruelling hike. But a few kilometres in, the team realised the dog was still following them.
“At one stage we had to take a break and the dog was totally wrecked. We opened two cans of food and let him eat, because he could find no food at all in the jungle,” Lindnord told Gear Junkie.
At their next transit point teammate Simon Niemi needed to receive medical attention after becoming severally dehydrated. Arthur stood guard and waited for the team to recover.
The final stage of the race was a 59km coastal kayak and race organisers warned against taking Arthur because it would be too dangerous. The team were forced to leave the dog on shore, but Arthur adamantly jumped in and started to swim alongside the kayak.
Lindnord told Gear Junkie he quickly helped Arthur into the kayak, much to the cheers of bystanders on shore.
“He was kind of in the way during the whole paddle and we had to find different paddling techniques to not kick him off board. A few times he jumped into the water and took a swim, and then he crawled back up again and was freezing so he got to wear our jackets,” he said.
“One time we got quite close to land and he jumped off and swam to the shore, and we thought that was the last we were going to see from him. But he ran on the road for a bit and then he swam back to us.”
There were several times that they had to pull him out of the mud and as Mikael explains, “At one stage we had to take a break and the dog was totally wrecked. We opened two cans of food and let him eat, because he could find no food at all in the jungle.”
The team crossed the finish line with one less member, but placed 12th in the race.
Lindnord said he is now working with local authorities and experts to bring Arthur back to Sweden with him.
This was too heartbreaking to witness so Mikael quickly helped Arthur into the kayak, to the cheers and applause from the bystanders on shore.
We are happy to see the dog accepted into Sweden after being examined by a vet and vaccinated in Ecuador. The outpouring of love and support shown on the team’s Facebook page is inspiring.