On an average morning in January 2016, April Hamlin let Ludivine, her two-year-old Bloodhound, out for a pee. Then 13.1 miles and 1 hour, 32 minutes, and 56 seconds later, Her dog had placed 7th in the Elkmont Half Marathon! You see, Hamlin lives on a lovely 40-acre farm which her pooch gets the pleasure of exploring on her own, so she didn’t notice Ludivine’s absence – Until she found out she’d become a local celebrity pet.
Apparently she went to the race start and took off win the runners at the starting shot. She stayed with a few of the front runners, ran off to sniff some animal carcasses, romp in the water, and then back to the race. I understand she stayed on the course for 13.1 miles, finished seventh, and was the highest placed female.April Hamlin, CNN, January 2016
While not officially counted among the 165 humans who ran, “Lu” was given an honorary medal for her competitive spirit.
Lu’s home of Elkmont only has 400 human residents, so she was already a popular pup around town. But after her 7th place win, she made the cover of Limestone Life, which is a local magazine for Elkmont’s county of Limestone. Then, she was also presented with another medal, declaring her “First Dog of Limestone Country.”
Thanks to Jonathan Deal and @newscourier for the great cover and article! pic.twitter.com/I6n3WsBiIn— Ludivine Hamlin (@ludivine_run) February 28, 2016
Then, the following year, the organizers recognized how the viral story of Lu inspired a lot more people to sign up. So they decided to rename the race to Elkmont’s Hound Dog Half in honor of Lu!
To follow along, you can visit Ludivine on Facebook at @runludivinerun. For another canine athlete, meet Tunita, the stray dog that crashed a soccer game – then got adopted as their mascot!