LIBERTY — Fifty runners and their canine companions made their way to the old football stadium Saturday morning to take place in the Liberty Mutt Marathon 5K to raise money for All Dogs of Pickens Transport (A.D.O.P.T.)
First place went to Tonya Earnhardy of Clemson who completed the 3.1-mile course in 26 minutes 31.8 seconds — just over eight minutes a mile.
She was followed by Cathy Garrett, Heather Thompson and Sherry Rhodes before Eddie “EJ” Reece crossed the finish line with the first four-legged competitor of the day, a one-year-old chocolate Labrador named Bella.
“This was Bella’s first race,” said Reece. “She did well. Her brother is still out there, he’s running with my wife but I don’t see them yet …”
Close on Bella’s heels was Ann Johnson Miller with her adopted dogs Charlie and Daisy.
“Daisy came from the humane society right here (in Liberty) in September and Charlie was rescued from the state of Georgia,” said Miller.
Although it was the first race for both of Miller’s dogs, the pair had a leg up on the competition by training with their owner in the weeks prior.
“I have a country run that’s about three and a half miles and they’ve learned quite well,” she said. “We had a little trouble in the beginning with all the other dogs before we started, but it all worked out.”
In addition to Daisy and Charlie, Miller has three other dogs at home.
“I got them trained and they did it, that’s the important part. The bad news is that now anytime I put my tennis shoes on they will not leave me alone,” joked Miller. “They’re ready to go.”
Addie, a senior black lab mix, was on hand with the A.D.O.P.T. crew supervising the race, licking fingers and giving the runners some tail-wagging encouragement.
“Addie is available for adoption,” said Jodi Currin of A.D.O.P.T. “We brought her along today to see if maybe she catches the eye of someone here in the crowd.”
Currin said that the numbers weren’t in yet for the total amount raised but said they were pleased with the overall turnout.
And Addie is still patiently awaiting her forever home.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.