The Furry Friends 5km: Caledon is a 5km trail run, run out of Albion Hills Conservation Area, where you are able to register to run with a pet or by yourself. Furry Friends offers 3 races – in Oshawa, Burlington and Caledon. For this particular race, there was a 5km option and 1 km option however the organizers made it clear that if anyone was in tired or in need of a break that the course was designed to allow runners / walkers to end at the 4km mark if desired.
For the race is was sunny 25C, and thankfully the race organizers addressed this by planning most of the course in shaded areas so that we weren’t over heating too much during the run.
Upon arriving at the course, there was a friendly greeter to guide you to the start of the course and you can already tell that this is going to be a different sort of race because of the sheer number of dogs in the park! There were pets ranging from huge dogs to small dogs, and even a cat! Needless to say the air the park was full of happiness and howls of excitement. Registration was well staffed and they were very efficient in handing out packages and t-shirts. The organizers were also good about announcing how much time was left till the start (which was great because we were quite early).
The start was a seed yourself arrangement where they suggested faster runners start out, while walkers stayed to the back. You could see dogs who were quite eager to be on the course spurning their owners forward, while others who had called it a day being carried and enjoying the sites. The course was a well-worn trail near the registration opening which was fairly easy to follow. Areas of the course narrowed down to a single path at times, and the course was quite hilly, but it was a beautiful course. There were volunteers posted on areas that were unclear to direct runners for directions and a water station at the 4km mark with dog bowls put out for furry friends.
The race finish saw runners coming back through the starting chute, where an announcer cheerily called out the names of runners (and pets if known) for each person that crossed the line. I’m so happy to be part of this event, especially since it supports so many animal causes.