“I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship” said Mikael Lindnord, one of the members of a team of Swedish athletes competing in the grueling Adventure Racing World Championship. “Instead I got a new friend.”
This ‘new friend’ happens to have four legs, a waggling tail, and a very unique story.
The extreme sports team was completing a 430-mile extreme sports race when they came upon what Lindnord described to reporters as a “scruffy, miserable” hungry-looking stray dog they took pity on and fed some meatballs to, thinking that would be the last they’d see of him.
Instead, as they continued on their journey the dog followed along. And not only for a little while – he completed the remainder of the race with the team, which included climbing hills, hiking muddy trails and even kayaking down fast-flowing rivers for more than 60 miles.
Although the team let the canine follow them along, concerns about his safety arose when they got to the 36 mile kayaking portion of the race and although they tried to leave him behind, the dog just kept on following them, going as far as jumping into the water to paddle behind.
That’s when Lindnord decided to go back and get Arthur, as they’d named the dog, and sit his kayak.
“It was quite difficult, technically, to paddle with a big dog in your lap” he explained of the challenge, adding “Sometimes he jumped in to hunt fish. When he became too cold he had to borrow my jacket.”
Ultimately the team finished the race and had Arthur checked out by a vet before applying for permission from the Board of Agriculture in Sweden to fly him home. When they arrived with the dog in tow at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport last week, they were given a hero’s welcome.
Images: Krister Goransson/Team Peak Performance