A dog living in the Sahara Desert unexpectedly joined “the toughest footrace on Earth” and won the hearts of the racers. The Marathon des Sable takes place in the Sahara and is a week long race that is actually six marathons combined, one for each day of the week.
The dog, dubbed “Cactus Dog”, appeared on Day Two and kept on running in the 6-day race astounding racers. Sadly, because he joined the race after the first leg, he was ineligible for the overall win.
“A dog followed runners at the end of stage 2 and he keeps following them during this stage. Now more than 10.7 km in the race, and he’s first of his category!” the official race account tweeted.
He charmed competitors and race officials so much that they gave him an official race number (000) and a SPOT GPS device to track him. Cactus was well cared for along the way given water and food. Many racers posted videos of Cactus during the race.
— Susie Chan (@Susie__Chan) April 12, 2019
He also got his own dedicated Twitter page @DogMds.
By the time Cactus crossed the finish line on the final leg of the race he had run over 100 miles. He also accomplished the 47-mile third stage in a record 11 hours (Take that humans – humans have up to 31 hours to complete the stage.)
Cactus got a medal for his accomplishments too.
Cactus the finisher 🏅🐕🌵
He made it! He’s the first dog to run the MDS 👏💪
He did great on today’s 42 km stage 😃
Who’s a good boy? 🐶#MDS2019 #MARATHONDESSABLES #CactusTheMdsDog pic.twitter.com/5MmFtyESRN
— MARATHON DES SABLES (@marathonDsables) April 12, 2019
It turns out Cactus is not a stray (unlike the now famous Gobi), however. His real name is Diggedy and his mom is Karen Hadfield, who runs a guest house in the Moroccan Sahara, so Diggedy’s home is actually in the desert!
Running is an every day thing for him too, as Hadfield commented on Marathon de Sables Facebook page that he runs around 25 miles a day just for fun. The Marathon Des Sables was right up his alley. Hadfield said he was “having the greatest time” in the race and picked him up at the finish line.
— Ian Corless (@Talkultra) April 13, 2019
We’re pretty sure he’ll be up for the challenge next year, so look out runners – you possibly have serious canine-competition next year.
Here’s a fun video of “Cactus”adventure.