Adventure racing is one of the most grueling sports in the world. Teams tackle almost insurmountable physical challenges while running, biking, kayaking through dense jungles and mountainous terrain for 430 miles (692 km).
While racing in Ecuador at the Adventure Racing World Championship, the Swedish Peak Performance Team added an unexpected member – a stray dog!
Just before the team started the 25 mile (40 km) jungle trek portion of the race, team captain Mikael Lindnord threw a meatball to a scruffy dog.
It wasn’t long after that they noticed the dog was following them. They soon found themselves helping the dog, who they named Arthur, out of deep mud and feeding him along the way, as was no food for him to scavenge in the jungle.
While trekking in the jungle, one of the team became severely dehydrated and needed medical attention. Arthur stood guard by his side the whole time until he was back on his feet.
And when they began the final leg of the race – by kayak – race organizers warned against taking the dog because the 36 mile (59 km) paddle along the coastline was dangerous. The team agreed but Arthur did not. As soon as they began paddling, Arthur swam after them.
Mikael heart broke at the sight and knew he couldn’t leave Arthur behind. He helped pull the dog into the kayak to the cheers of the spectators on shore. It wasn’t easy paddling with Arthur, but the team managed.
Finally, after 6 days trek, the team crossed the finish line with their plus one. But Arthur’s adventure wasn’t over yet.
Mikael began investigating how he could bring Arthur back to Sweden with him. His application to Jordbruksverket (Sweden’s Board of Agriculture) approved, Mikael was able to raise money from public donations. And through support from Peak Performance, he was able to fly Arthur back home!
Mikael wrote on Facebook that he nearly cried in front of his computer when he read that Arthur was approved to come home with him. “I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship. Instead, I got a new friend.”
After 4 months in quarantine, Arthur has finally finished his last leg of his long journey and is ready to start his new life in Sweden. He was released with a clean bill of health by the Swedish Board of Agriculture and greeted by his new family.
It was an emotional moment when Mikael came to pick him up. Arthur was extremely happy, and jumped up and down.
The first thing the family did together was to go for a run in the nearby forest. Mikael said, “Arthur has been looking out into that forest for four months, so he was very keen to run around in it for a bit.”
What an amazing adventure with a wonderful happy ending! Share this story with your friends and family!