Hello all! Your faithful Foxy, barkrunner correspondent, is here with another fun interview. The great Gifford, of Fletcher’s Cove (FC), recently helped his dad notch 100 parkruns!
If my maths is correct, that is 4 legs X 1 out & back by 5 kms plus — wait — how far is a km??? — they didn’t teach me this maths stuff at Dog Paws University!!! When can those parkrun stats peeps track barkruns too!!!
In any event, that’s a whole lot of Gifford paw prints on the FC towpath! Now, let’s get down to business. Tell me about yourself Gifford.
Hi. I’m Gifford, or “Giff” as my nearest and dearest call me. I’m not a spring chicken (mmm….chicken!), but I’m not entirely sure how old I am, since I was a rescue. My mum Lisa thinks I’m over 9. They say I’m a German Shepherd mix, but mix of what no one can confirm. My old man enjoys befuddling people by saying whatever comes to mind – I’ve heard him describe me as a poodle-hyena mix! My home barkrun is FC. I rule the roost; the trail is mine.
Giff, can I call you Giff? I barked, we sniffed, I feel like we are good friends now — so, Giff, what started your running endeavors?
I’ve always enjoyed a good run, but it wasn’t until barkrun that it dawned on me that running with the two-legged crowd can be quite entertaining. Dan, my humanoid dad, brought me along from the get-go at FC, and I’ve run faithfully along since (nice that I got some credit when he notched 100 – wouldn’t have happened without me, running without complaint and ne’er a barkode!!!). Of course, minus the mid-summer when, frankly, the heat is too much and I’m happier kicking around the house. I don’t like the muggy humidity. I don’t like puddles that much truth be told either, but I figure you can’t keep your paws dry all the time, so I give in and get wet. In our rainy season, don’t bother trying to avoid the FC puddles – you can run, you can try and hide, but eventually, you won’t find a way around, or your leash-holder will simply yank you directly in, so just run on through.
Oh, I agree with you on the ugliness of mugginess, but how can you not like puddles? These paws are made for pouncing through!! So when there aren’t big puddles, what do you like about barkrun?
First off, I love the trail shoes. When they get pulled out, I go into my tail-wagging hyperbolic dog frenzied ecstasy. When it’s pouring cats and dogs, I may need a little nudge, but overall, I love the routine of barkrun, the familiarity, the family, the hands that stroke my fur and cuddle and embarrass me with lovely words and friendly gestures. Recently, I’ve got a big kick out of abandoning my hobbling boss and eloping with other parkrunners – one dog, several Guv’nors and Guv’nesses.
I love our barkrun being the towpath — nice gravel and a bit of mud and muck. I love the meet and greet with fellow barkrunners, though Mr. Biggles really must learn how to behave in public, especially in front of the younger generation. Here is a photo of him being deliberately ultra-civilized and polite knowing there was a camera lens turned on him.
I met sweet Mr. Biggles! He must know Foxy means business, as he just crawled up, rolled over, and waited for me to acknowledge him! Sweet little fella…aah…but back to Giff. Tell me, what’s your fave barkrun volunteer role?
Interesting question. Thanks to my decrepit, rapidly disintegrating old man and his torn achilles, I’ve been obliged recently to do a lot of tail walking, marshaling, and a few RD-ing. Tail walking is nice, except for the endless walking when I’d rather be stretching my sinews and running. Marshaling at halfway, I admit, is the best of both – I get to run (or recently, half hop, half skip with paws over my ears to block the nasty verbiage from the frustrated old codger), then stop and take in the scenery, the smells, the pungent verdant foliage, and then run or skippity hop back, feeling fresh and very relaxed.
When you put it like that, marshaling sounds super fun, though I prefer tail-walking — I’m pretty sure the name “tail walker” was inspired by my fabulous fluffy tail swishing! But I digress. Outside of barkrun, what else does Giff like to do?
My favourite activity is paws-down meditation and dreamtime. And my preferred spot, unsurprisingly, is my favourite dream launch pad!
Very cozy! Wait, there are no toys on your bed???
I’m a bit of an odd fish, no wait, odd dog, and I couldn’t really give a dog’s breakfast about toys. Or cats. Or sticks. Or balls.
Bestill my heart! What about treat treats —you gotta like treat treats, right?
That’s the other thing I love about barkrun. In a conventionally Pavlovian way, I now anticipate the treat I am always given when we’re done, whether it’s at FC when muffins or cookies are offered, or the coffee hangout, where there’s a nice bowl of water and a tossed crumb from a compassionate customer, or at home, a real bone when I’m lucky…
Oh, I haven’t been back to FC since the coffee spot opened for post-barkrun gathering. And, yum! All of those post-barkrun treats sound absolutely delish!
Oh yes, superb recovery fuel. And my other recovery fuel, simple really — a dog’s life is not a dog’s life when you feel the love…Keep parkrunning everyone, spread the love, defeat the divisions and everything else…
Amen, brother, amen! Well, Giff, we are going to end on that lovely sentiment. It has been wonderful chatting with you. Peace, love, and paw paws, everyone, peace, love, and paw paws!
Viveka from Sweden is a self-proclaimed non-runner, but she shared the story of how she became a parkrunner. She volunteers more than she participates and more often walks than runs, which is true for many parkrunners around the world. No matter how you participate, if you do, you’re a parkrunner and you’re always welcome. …
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