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A dog's not just for Christmas - Sandra Bowers, Kez & Kroi

by Editor
Monday 10th December 2012
Tags  Runn with your dog   |   Sandra Bowers   |   Huskies Running   |   Kez   |   Kroi

Running with Dogs: In this new series of articles Run247 columnist Kirsty Reade will be introducing tales from dedicated runners and their four-legged friends. In this article she turns the spotlight onto Sandra Bowers and her Huskies

Running with Humans

If we said we were going to interview a couple of runners who had parkrun pbs of 15.48 you would already be pretty impressed. However, if we told you that they ran those times while tethered together and attached to a person, you would be amazed.

Well, that’s just what these incredible boys have done. Meet Kez and Kroi, two Siberian huskies, otherwise known as Sandra Bowers’ running companions. This team of three have been running lightning fast parkruns for a while now and they ran Newbury parkrun in an incredible 15.48 on November 24th, the final date that parkrun allowed running with two dogs.

Kez and Kroi, congratulations on your amazing achievement. Now it’s time for you to steal Sandra’s thunder!

Teaching mum how to clean her muddy legs © Ian J Berry. Sandra, Kez & Kroi at Newbury parkrun, October 6, 2012 © Sonja Kabirschke

Photos: Teaching mum how to clean her muddy legs © Ian J Berry. Sandra, Kez & Kroi at Newbury parkrun, October 6, 2012 © Sonja Kabirschke

Meet the Huskies in Huskies Running (current members):

Krofti – the eldest team member at 11 years of age. He likes to run at a very sedate pace and is frequently seen at parkruns running with children as well as adults who prefer not to race parkrun. Krofti is great, great, great uncle to Kez and Kroi.

Kez – ultra running extraordinaire. At 5 years of age he is the epitome of the canine athlete. From sub 5 minute miles to extreme ultra distances he does it all with such ease and grace. Naturally very shy and nervous, he gains huge confidence when running with his Human Mum.

Kez© Ian J Berry

Photos: Kez - How I look before a run and how I feel after a run © Ian J Berry

Kroi (pronounce Kree) – at 18 months he is still very much a baby. Little brother to Kez, this husky has a phenomenal appetite for speed. He starts all of his runs at full speed and with more enthusiasm than any other living creature I have ever known. Still learning how to run with humans, he has a brilliant teacher in Kez.

Kroi © Ian J Berry

Photos: Kroi - Practising to run really quickly and 'all grown up?' © Ian J Berry

(Members forever watching us from above)

Grandad, AKA as Kai – the founder of the Huskies Running team. Krofti, Kez and Kroi are all direct descendants.

Kade – Kai’s son, he taught us all how to run and how to love running. At 13 years of age, he still kept on running. Without his help teaching all the other huskies would have been an impossible job.

Kobi – only with us for a short time, he taught us how to race and what you can achieve through love and trust. Not a blood relative, we rescued him from a terrible past and fell deeply in love with him. Sadly he lost his life at a very young age.

Amazing teachers Kade & Kobi © Ian J Berry. Huskadeers © Gill Berry. Krofti and Kai taught us how to sing © Ian J Berry

Photos: Amazing teachers Kade & Kobi © Ian J Berry. Huskadeers © Gill Berry. Krofti and Kai taught us how to sing © Ian J Berry

Questions for Kez and Kroi

Question How did you first get into running with humans?

Answer Kez – when I first met Human Mum she asked me if I would like to become her ultra-running training partner. I was only 7 weeks old and didn’t know what it meant, but I liked her so much that I said yes!

When I left Husky Mum and moved to Wiltshire to be with Human Mum, Grandad, Uncle Kade and Uncle Krofti I learned all about running with humans. Uncle Kade told me all about ultra-running and then he taught me how to run and how to behave when running with humans. Kade was the most polite dog that I ever knew and I try to follow his example when teaching other dogs how to run and how to behave.

Answer Kroi – One day when I was supposed to be sleeping I sneaked into the living room where Human Mum was watching a film called “Chariots of Fire”. I was fascinated by all the runners and dreamt that one day I would run as fast as them and run like they did on the beach and round the buildings.

I wasn’t allowed to run with Human Mum until I was many months old, so I did lots of practising in the garden to make sure I would always be really fast even though I was very little.
When I was old enough to run with Human Mum she let me run with Uncle Kade, Kez and my friend Kobi.

Kobi didn’t like many humans because some had been horrid to him when he was a puppy. He told me that he always tried to run faster than all the other humans to stay away from them. I like most humans, but I always remember Kobi’s lesson at the start of a race, that’s why I start so quickly!

Question Talk us through your triumphant parkrun last Saturday. Did you have a race strategy? Did you have extra chicken for dinner the night before?

Answer Kez – I knew on the day of the run that there was something very special about the day. So many people kept on coming over to speak to the Humans and to cuddle Kroi and I. I could also sense that Human Mum was different than usual, like nervous or worried. So I kept on touching her and tried to reassure her as I don’t like it when she is scared or sad.

The Humans shared some of their macaroni cheese with us the night before, and I did see Kroi try to steal some of Human Mum’s Clif Bar….

Answer Kroi – my run strategy is always to run as fast as I can. Human mum always slows me down and sometimes Kez does too. He says we are supposed to take it easy in case we need to run for a very long time. He teases me and says that I “blow up” when I run too fast. I don’t, I just slow down so that he and Human Mum can get their “puff” back. Human Mum huffs and puffs sometimes when we run really quickly.

And I did not steal the Clif Bar, that was Lara!

Answer Kez – but you let her so that means you love her! Oh look your girlfriend is here…

[Lara has just entered the room and starts flirting with Kroi, teasing him with what remains of one of Kroi’s favourite toys. Kroi tries to rescue his toy and hide behind Human Mum at the same time. Lara is quickly escorted out of the room with the promise of a treat…]

Question When did you know the pb was on the cards? Did it feel like a special run or did you only realise when you finished?

Answer Kez – usually Human Mum slows down after the first mile and I start trotting so that she doesn’t have to run as fast. But today she didn’t slow down and she kept on asking me to keep going. I was a bit surprised but she was very insistent and so I kept on bounding. She sounded really tired after two miles so I trotted again and she slowed down and I thought she was actually going to stop! Then she suddenly got really excited and said that we could still do it. She started running so quickly that she nearly caught up with us. So we started bounding again and as we ran faster she got more and more excited. I love it when she is happy so I ran quicker to make her even happier.

Answer Kroi – Yeah, I noticed that Human Mum was a little weird as well. I just thought it was because her ankle was so painful. Kez got really grumpy when we first started and tried to knock me off the course, twice…

Answer Kez – you started way too quickly! I had to try and get you to slow down so that Human Mum could keep up!

Answer Kroi – you shouldn’t have got grumpy with me, you could have just asked…

Answer Kez – yeah right. Since when did you ever listen if I politely asked you to do something?

Answer Kroi – anyway, Human Mum told you off for being grumpy, so na, na to you!

Answer Kez – that is so not true!!

[at this point Human Mum politely intervenes and suggests a “comfort break” may be a good idea…. It worked, back to race day question…]

Answer Kroi – After he [evil stare at Kez] jumped me, we finally got running properly and I just put my head down and ran as fast as Human Mum allowed (she does slow me down as I am attached to her). For once the horses didn’t stampede across our path as the nice lady on the lead bike told them to stay. Human mum kept on asking us to keep going, which is unusual as we normally slow down when she gets tired. Then we suddenly spotted Human Dad with Lara and Krofti, which made Human Mum run even faster so we ran faster to make sure we stayed ahead. I pulled a little bit more to help her. Everyone was cheering us on as we ran towards the finish and it felt like we had just won an Olympic Gold Medal. It was so cool!!

Question How did you celebrate your incredible run?

Answer Kez – Once Human Mum was able to talk, we got lots of cuddles! Other people kept coming over and cuddling us and everyone was so happy! Then we had special Waitrose sausages when we got back to the car. Human Mum has promised that I can run with her in an ultra-race next weekend as a reward for being so good. The best thing in the world is running with Human Mum, especially if the brat is not there….

Answer Kroi – Oi! Superbrat, not just “brat”. You’re just jealous that I can run faster than you.

Answer Kez – race you!!

[at this point the interview is temporarily halted as the two brothers run out to the garden and do a few circuits racing each other. Let’s just say it was a dead heat, keep the peace and all that….]

Answer Kroi - I was promised the world’s biggest “Colin Caterpillar”, but they had sold out when Human Mum went to the shop, so she got me a “Sally Snake” instead. It is so big (bigger than “dad”) and has so much stuffing to pull out and turn it into inside snow by ripping it into little pieces! Lara keeps stealing it from me and taking it outside so I have to go and bring it back inside to make more snow.

Question Would you recommend to other dogs that they try parkrun with their owner? If so, what are the important things to consider to make it safe for the dog and for other runners?

Answer Kez – parkruns are so much fun and it is always good to run in a new place. As a dog you need to be on your best behaviour and if you ignore what your Human tells you then you should practise at home before you embarrass them by being rude or naughty in front of the other runners.

Tell your Human to make sure that your lead is not too long and never let your lead touch another runner. Try to run directly in front of your Human at all times, but if you cannot do that make sure you take your Human over to one side and away from the other runners so that you don’t cause an obstruction to them.

If a human runner is upset because you finished in front of them, smile and offer to run with them next time…

Answer Kroi – you should always be polite and considerate to all the other runners. Don’t run too close to human runners as sometimes they stumble and they might accidently kick you.

Don’t approach a human runner unless they invite you to. Unless you are really, really fast, then don’t start at the front. Human runners will get annoyed if they get tangled up in your lead or if you trip them up.

Make sure you go to the toilet before you start the run.

Question I know you’re just as at home running an ultra as you are a 5k (just like your mum). What’s your favourite distance and why?

Answer Kez – Definitely ultra-distance events. 52 miles is the furthest that I have run in one go, but I would love to run further with Human Mum, but it would need to be very cold and no tarmac.

Answer Kroi – 1 mile - we have been practising this distance a lot recently and we are getting faster each time. Last week Human Mum let me run in front of Kez and Lara and I got to set the pace. That was the fastest we had ever run and Human Mum’s eyes were watering after we finished.

Question You’ve both achieved so much in the world of running with humans. What’s next for you both?

[Kez has run numerous marathons and ultra- marathons (Druids Challenge, Greensand marathon, Portsmouth Marathon, Wye Valley 50m, Winters Tanners 30m, Stonehenge Stomp, plus many others….), Kroi has participated in several marathons and ultras, but not yet run the full distance of the event. His speciality has been one mile / 5k]

Answer Kez – Dorset Ultra on 8th December and Portsmouth Marathon on 23rd December. I have run Portsmouth Marathon for the past two years and it is one of my most favourite events. People come out to watch the race and just to see me, I think that is so cool and makes me feel very special.

I would love to run the full Ridgeway Trail with Human Mum, all in one day – we have run all of it in three days and I love the course almost as much as she does. I am also going to run the West Highland Way with her next year. That will be so much fun as I love mountains and I know she does too.

Running in snow - the Huskies' favourite thing © Sandra Bowers. Kez helping Sandra safely through the mud in 50 mile race © Ian J Berry

Photos: Running in snow - the Huskies' favourite thing © Sandra Bowers. Kez helping Sandra safely through the mud in 50 mile race © Ian J Berry

Answer Kroi – I am going to dress up as a Huskadeer and pull Santa (Human Mum dressed as Santa) along Southsea seafront on 16th December. It will be so much fun as Rob the organiser is such a cool guy and loves dogs and someone told me that you get a mince pie afterwards.

Human Mum has promised me a proper “Colin Caterpillar” if I help her do something called a 4 minute mile. “Sally Snake” was nice, but I want a proper “Colin Caterpillar” all of my own and I will not let Lara steal him from me.

I also know that I can help Human Mum run even faster over 5k, so I am going to help her do just that….

Question What parkrun has given you either your most embarrassing or favourite memory?

Answer Kez – Strathclyde parkrun, March 2011. I was running with Kobi and he shot off so quickly that we were way out in front of all the other runners within seconds. He couldn’t maintain the pace and completely and utterly blew up after 1.5 miles. He actually stopped and had a lay down by the side of the track. All the other runners ran past us and it was ages before he got his breath back and we were able to run to the finish. It was so embarrassing.

Answer Kroi – Andover parkrun, 26th November 2011. It was my first ever parkrun with Human Mum. The Huskies Running team all ran it together, five huskies attached to Human Mum with Human Dad running alongside. Uncle Kade, Uncle Krofti, Kez, Kobi and I all running together as a pack with the Humans. It was the only time we ever did it and it was awesome!


Thank you Kez and Kroi. We salute you for all you’ve achieved in the world of running. By way of congratulations for your parkrun triumph Run247 will be dispatching a big box of sausages.

Lastly, we know that Sandra is currently fostering a rescue husky named Lara and training her to follow in Kez and Kroi’s paw prints (in running terms if not in the good behaviour stakes just yet). Lara is looking for a permanent home so if any runners who already own a dog are interested in finding out more we can put you in touch.


Part 1
Kirsty Reade
& Dingle



Part 2
Adela Salt
& Wilson


Kez & Kroi

Part 3
Sandra Bowers,
Kez & Kroi



Part 4
Nikki Kimball
& Darby


Part 5
Sophie & Jess



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