To all my fellow pups out there, listen up! Barkrunner correspondent Foxy is back with five top tips on how to be a good barkrunner.
Rule number one, is that you gotta have fun. Whether you walk, run, spectate, or volunteer, being a barkrunner is a fabulous way to spend your Saturday morning. But, it also means lots of peeps around to admire and love on you. So bring a good attitude and put that obedience school training into practice.
If tight crowds or lots of hands wanting to pet you make you super nervous, consider waiting at home to celebrate with your returning parkrunners instead of joining them at the event.
Rule number two, bring someone to hold onto. Pull out your short leash and secure yourself tightly. You don’t want to lose your pack leader or trip someone up! Once you get going, remember to pace yourself for the long haul and take breaks as needed.
It is going to be hard, especially with all the excitement at the start, but look to your person to guide you and help you stay safe and on track for the duration. If you bring a buddy dog or a human child in a stroller, make sure they have their own person. While barkrunning, you deserve one-on-one attention from your pack leader.
Rule number three, deal with doggy duties. To keep the events and the parks enjoyable for all, your pack leader needs to be prepared to handle all the duties that come along with your barkrunner adventures. First things first, have them make sure that the weather on barkrun day is conducive to your participation that day.
Don’t be ashamed to let them know you prefer to nap at home if the weather is too hot, cold, rainy, etc for you on any particular Saturday. Assuming the weather is good, make sure they pack water for you, some doggy baggies for clean-up duty, and perhaps even a post barkrun treat treat. I like bananas or doggy biscuits myself.
Rule number four, come back for more. parkrun isn’t just a 5k – it’s a community! Make friends with other parkrunners and barkrunners and come back to see them again. Extend your friendship beyond the 5k by joining the gang at the after-parkrun hangout if there is barkrunner-friendly outdoor seating.
And, if you are up for traveling, consider going on tour to other events (check in advance to ensure the events allow barkrunners — unfortunately, some events can’t accommodate us).
Rule number five, spread the good vibes. While parkruns are free events, it takes volunteers to make the events happen. So consider volunteering with your person every so often. If you are up to it, I suggest the role of tail walker as a way to ease into the volunteer ranks — note: no tail is actually necessary for this role, but if you have one — wag on, my friend, wag on!
Now, time to go out and be the best barkrunner you can be! Find your local event online via the parkrun website and check whether they can accommodate barkrunners. Also, just so you know – you don’t need to register to be a barkrunner – just come with your registered parkrunner!
Peace, love, and paw paws!
(Foxy would like to thank Eden Gray for editorial assistance.)
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