You could say the concept of this race is ‘barking’ mad and you’d be spot (the dog) on. When I first saw it advertised on the Peterborough Greyhounds Facebook page I had to ‘pause’ for a second to check it was real. I shared it onto my own page and was ‘hounded’ by friends to sign up. ‘Dogged’ to do well I did just that and here’s how it when (minus anymore dog related puns).
The race involves dressing as a dog and racing the final 150 yard stretch of the Peterborough greyhound track. The race is held during the greyhound racing programme so the stadium is full of spectators who can actually bet on the human hound they think will win. All money bet goes to the organisation or charities the participants are representing. Therefore, unlike most races, there is no entry fee. In fact, they pay you £50 for taking part in the heats and up to £250 more if you do well in the final.
There were to be three heats held over three successive Friday evenings with six participants in each. The first two from each race would go through to the final on the fourth Friday of the month.
Running, fancy dress and a night at the greyhound racing are three of my favourite things so combining them was something that came with great excitement to me.
The dog racing started at 7.30pm. We were told to report at 9pm for the 9.50pm scheduled race. On arrival I found it brilliant to see that we were listed in the event programme. As I watched the first few races and saw the four legged hounds speeding around the track excitement grew. I’d had several bets but won nothing. I was hoping my luck was going to change.
As the clock struck nine, all six competitors were lead down to a room track side where two large laundry baskets full of costumes were placed on a table. We were told to help ourselves.
Not really knowing what we were pulling out we all matched the giant heads to the costume bodies and began to get dressed into them. We all had to help each other out to do the onesie style suits up at the back and as we tried the heads on it was apparent that some fitted a lot better than others. It seemed that my run of bad luck had continued as I couldn’t see a thing when inside mine.
I soon realised that I would have to hold the head in place with one hand so that I could get any view from the tiny sighting hole but I was still confident I could give it a good go.
There were lots of jokes flying around between participants as we waited for our call to step out into the track and plenty more laughs as we lined up for several photos.
We were then interviewed one by one and introduced to the crowd before walking across to the start line at the far side of the track. I used this opportunity to have a little run in my costume and as I expected I could see very little.
We had wondered if we would have to crawl into the traps to start but instead we stood to our makes. The hare was released (a man dressed as a rabbit) and then we were off.
I thought I had gotten away well but struggled to see where the other hounds were as we ran around the bend. As I came into the home straight I saw the sand kicking up from the heals of two speedy runners in front of me. They had a good lead and try as I did I wasn’t able to catch either so crossed the line in third place. I’d had to run the entire race using only one arm to run while holding the head with the other arm. This isn’t easy when sprinting flat out.
All things considered I was some what satisfied to still get on the podium but the announcer summed my mood up when he said “Congratulations to the first two who will be rejoining us for the final and commiserations to third place who just misses out”.
My main disappointment came in the fact that I knew I wasn’t going to get to have another go after having such a good time as this really had been a entertaining evening.
If I got another opportunity I’d definitely go back and do it again. This race is everything Quirky Races looks for in an event. Completely different to the norm, at a unique venue where people don’t normally get to run and a huge amount of fun.