Adventure Racing Dog
Arthur: The dog who crossed the jungle to find a home (2016) by Mikael Lindnord with Val Hudson
Journey to the Extreme
Lindnord grew up in Sweden where conditions are ideal for biking, skiing and trekking. But it was his 15-month compulsory military service, with its demanding missions, that strengthened his mind and body. After losing his place in his local ice hockey team he pursues a sporting career in adventure racing.
The book details Lindnord’s journey as a member of Sweden’s Team Peak Performance, during the 2014 Adventure Racing World Championships. Held in Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest, competitors cover 430 miles of treacherous terrain. During the six days, Lindnord and his three teammates overcome altitude fluctuations, extreme fatigue, navigational errors, severe injuries and broken equipment. They finish in twelth position.
Additional Team Member
But it was not because of the team’s impressive athleticism that the book was written. When a stray dog attaches himself to Lindnord during the latter stages of the race the dog is dying from open wounds. Lindnord names him Arthur after the heroics of the legendary King Arthur and treats him as another team member.
Arthur shows a serenity unique to animals. His survival is as impressive as Lindnord and his team’s race performance as they all deal with the harsh conditions to reach the finish line.
The consequences of keeping Arthur once the race has finished are life-changing. The heart-warming story is picked up by so many media outlets and involves government departments and numerous vets in order to clear Arthur’s passage to Sweden. The surgeries, quarantine, interviews and travelling prove that Arthur is a strong and spirited animal, and eventually he finds a loving home with Lindnord’s young children.
He even runs with his owner, much healthier and happier than in the wild. A legacy has also been created through the Arthur Foundation, set up to support the prevention of the abuse of stray dogs in Ecuador.
This highly entertaining and satisfying read is similar to Dion Leonard’s tale Finding Gobi, where during an extreme race a stray dog becomes an inseparable companion to a racer.
The description of the adventure racing compares to passages in Charlie Engle’s book Running Man and evidences Lindnord’s skill to continually push his comfort zone well beyond the average athlete’s limit. Also, his organising of adventure races with his wife Helena reveals his commitment and passion for his sport.
Arthur’s loyal and kind nature fits perfectly with the unwavering endurance of a superb athlete.