Kate Lewis, race director, listened to the warm sound of 600 feet pounding the Vasa 5K loop as 100 excited canines and their human masters started the Tails to Trails Race on the 5K Vasa loop, benefiting TART Trails. Organized by TART benefactors, the race ran along wild, beautiful, primitive settings, thick trees, and crystal clear streams.


Sponsored by the Simonton-Hanosek-Mangum Team of Merrill Lynch, Bay Area Pet Hospital, Northwood Animal Hospital, Great Lakes Pet Memorial & Crematory, Woofers on the Run and Pets Naturally, which recently purchased The D.O.G. Bakery, owner Kathy Hyland provided a doggie bag (This one was a real doggie bag) filled with lots of canine treats and special coupons, and many dog biscuits as well as a tasty fruit tree for human runners, along with Bay Area Pet Hospital who provided free vet advise as well as dog biscuits, Frisbees and water bowls for thirsty dogs. I spoke with two of the Bay Area Pet Hospital Vets, Karen Reabe and Kenny Rogers, whose dogs ran the race with them. Gabe, a 9-year-old lab, ran with Kenny. Gabe also pulls Kenny on skis in a sport called “skijoring.” Look it up on the web. Yes, it is a real sport. As long as you were careful not to mix up the human cookies with the doggie cookies, you were fine, although we were told the dog cookies were “fit for us humans.”

Let’s get right to our race “winners” and we have two “winners.” Two rescued dogs, Sydney, an 8-year-old shepard/husky/lab mix was found wandering in the Upper Peninsula woods and Juneau, an 8-year-old Australian Kelpie/husky mix who needed reconstructive surgery on her leg. Both dogs ran with their humans, Tom Maynard, 29, and his wife, Jaclyn Mayler, 30, of Traverse City. It was Juneau’s first 5K. No, they weren’t the fastest dogs, but they were my “winners” because of their unique history. Here’s a wish for many happy trails and tails to Sydney and Juneau. And thanks to their humans, Tom and Jaclyn.

Lexi, 2, ran with her human Pat Rumpler, 69. Pat says running is good for the dog and good for the human. Pat’s son went to the University of Michigan, which is the reason for the bright maize and blue shirt, GO BLUE! On the other side of the coin, Gemma Guilland, 32, wore her MSU colors. It was the first time Gemma had raced with her dog. Rick Simonton, 58, and his wife Denna, walked the event without a dog. They are thinking about getting one and thought the event might help them decide on a breed. Since the race, they have decided a lab is the dog for them. Rick, who is a sponsor and a board member, lost 25 pounds as he trains to climb Mt. St. Helen in July. May, the dog, brought Pam Darling, Development Director at TART Trails. Pam served as the sweeper for the race. She followed behind the last place dog to make certain all dogs and humans arrived safely at the finish.

Many runners/walkers enjoyed the event with their favorite humans. Sophie, 12, walked with her humans, Jim Sommerville, 66, and Denise Bickle. Ella, 12, was accompanied by her human, Tom Stone, 66. Bosco, 2½, brought owner Shelly Ehrenburger, sister of my Central High School classmate Bob Ehrenberger. Darwin, 2½, brought Carl Taphouse. Maddie, age 3, was accompanied by owners Chuck, 66, and Julie, 63, Percy. Perhaps one of the more unusual combos was Loki, a huge 7-year-old Leonberger, who brought humans Jerry, 68, and Mary Frank, age 64. It seemed strange to see such a large dog, who was very friendly. Lodi eats 6 cups of dry dog food daily and walks the humans 3 miles every day! Blu, a labradoodle, age 5, brought owners, Scott, 59, and Michelle Kitts, age 49. Tarria, 6 months, brought human John Keenan, 64. John has enjoyed running ever since junior high. Reggie, 11, brought owner Ira Kreft, 59. Reggie pulled a fast one on Ira. Reggie was more interested in the treats and the trees than running the 5K. So Reggie and Ira waited for us at the finish.

Race director Kate Lewis, welcomes all dogs and their humans to attend next year’s Tails to Trails 5K. At most races, one is fortunate to run with one or two dogs. So humans, if you are really nice to your pooch, maybe you will be brought to this wonderful event. Remember to ask your doctor and your vet before starting an exercise program.

Zoe, a 13-year-old Bouvier, and Rebel, a 7-year-old Lhasa Apsa, brought human author Mickey Fivenson, 75, to the race. Zoe and Rebel run with Mickey 3 to 5 miles every day. Mickey has run more than 148,000 miles in 48 years of running including 60+ marathons. If you have questions about running or want Mickey to cover your race, please contact the editor.

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Photo(s) by Mickey Fivenson