The smallest member of the Madrid family also happens to be the family’s chief fitness motivator.
Jack Madrid loves running and is usually so eager to head for his weekly Saturday morning sessions that he will bark loudly to wake the family up bright and early.
Jack is a three-year-old dog. A Poodle and Maltese cross-breed, he is happiest when owner Gil Madrid takes him out for a run. Gil is a regular of the 5km Parkrun held at East Coast Park, and somewhere along the way Jack the dog has become the unofficial mascot of the weekly event.
Gil, who is a Sales Director, says, “Jack likes being outdoors all the time, definitely more so than being indoors. When he wants to go out, he will let us know by barking loudly.”
However because Jack is a small dog, he is unable to run more than 2km. To get around that problem, Gil runs with Jack in a dog pram.
Gil explains, “The first time when I ran 5km with the dog, I had to carry Jack for 3km because he was tired by the halfway point. It was not a pleasant experience, and Jack was quite uncomfortable with being carried while I ran. My wife then found a specialised pram at a pet store, and we put Jack into it. Now Jack and I have done more than 25 Parkruns together… and Jack always finishes one second ahead of me!”
Jack has also unofficially taken part in a half marathon. Gil was pacing his wife, helping her to run a sub-two-hour time at the Great Eastern Women’s Run, and Jack went along for the entire distance, riding in his pram.
Jack also accompanies Gil for long distance runs. Said Gil, “During my marathon training cycles, I have taken Jack running from East Coast Park all the way to the airport. We have done a 32km run together, so Jack has seen all of the East Coast Beach.”
Pushing Jack in the pram has also helped Gil to improve his upper body strength. Said Gil, “Every session running with Jack is a full-body workout because pushing a pram when I am running is hard work, and even though Jack cannot run long distances himself, he has helped me to become stronger as a runner.”
Gil added, “I never really worked on my upper half before. I was always strong in the legs, but now I can see in the mirror too, that my upper body has gotten leaner and stronger over time. Pushing a pram while running long distances forces me to maintain a straight posture, and the weight resistance of keeping the pram pointed straight is a better workout than I initially thought.”
In fact, Gil attributes his recent successful completion of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, the Maybank Bali Marathon and the Blackmore’s Sydney Marathon in a space of three months to the upper body training that Jack had given to him.
He added, “Jack always brings a smile to the people that we meet while running. The Parkrun group love to see Jack at the weekly timed events, and that’s a good a reason as any for me to keep attending sessions with him.”
Want a four-legged running companion? Gil says…
“I would say that if you really want a running dog, you should get a dog that can run long distances of at least 5km or 10km, if you do not like pushing a dog in a pram, don’t adopt a small dog because they normally run very fast, but they can only last a couple of kilometres.
Border Collies, Labradors or Huskies are natural runners as they are dogs with stamina and endurance. However, they are also correspondingly more involving dogs that require more attention and time outdoors, so your commitment to them must be absolute.”