At most triathlon races, the pre-start chatter is about spotting navigational buoys in the water or asking a fellow triathlete for an assist with zipping up a wetsuit. But at one unusual race in the small German village of Amelinghausen, one can might be more likely to hear “sit,” “stay,” or “who’s a good, good, goooood boy?”
The first-ever Amelinghausen Dog Triathlon, held May 15, 2022, provided an opportunity for human triathletes to race with their four-legged friends. These human-dog teams navigated an 80-meter swim, 3.5-kilometer (2.1 miles) bike and 2 kilometer (1.2-mile) run course in tandem, with each team required to stay within six feet (the length of a standard dog leash) of each other.
The event’s organizer, Verena Pierza, was inspired to create the event while training with her dog, Emma, a Stafford mix. In addition to wanting to share the race-day experience with her pup, Pierza wanted to meet other like-minded dog people. What she didn’t realize is just how many dog people there were: Interest for the race was overwhelming, prompting Pierza to set a cap on the number of participants allowed at 110. In future, years, Pierza hopes to expand the event and create more waves for swim-bike-run dogs and their humans.
See below for photos from the event, and if you’re inspired to bring your best four-legged buddy, check out these resources: