A two-year-old hound with an apparent nose for competitive running has finished seventh in a half-marathon in Alabama.
The dog, named Ludivine, was a last-minute entry into the inaugural Elkmont Half Marathon last week after her owner let her outside to relieve herself.
Ludivine, said to have a penchant for solo walks through the woods, apparently heard the sound of runners gathering at the nearby starting line and went to investigate.
When the starting gun fired Ludivine took off with the pack, witnesses told Runner’s World.
She stopped several times throughout the 13.1-mile trek to inspect other dogs and animals, including a dead rabbit around the two-mile mark, race competitors told the magazine.
Jim Clemens, who eventually finished fourth, said: “Every time I thought she had dropped off to go back home, I would hear her coming back up to me, and she would race past me up to the two leaders.”
Ludivine eventually crossed the finish line in a time of 1:32:56 – good enough for seventh out of some 165 runners. Race volunteers put a medal on the dog, who took time to pose for a picture after the race.
As Ludivine’s accomplishment began to go viral, race organisers noted on Facebook that the dog was helping put the inaugural race “on the map”.
Her owner, April Hamlin, said she learned of the dog’s exploits after receiving photos via text messages.
“All I did was open the door, and she ran the race on her own accord,” Ms Hamlin told Runner’s World.
She added that Ludivine is “laid back and friendly, so I can’t believe she ran the whole half marathon because she’s actually really lazy”.