Run With The Dogs 5K Holds Race in Freezing Temperatures


Owners and their dogs meet each other before they begin.

Mira Donsky

What could possibly get hundreds of people out of their homes at 9 in the morning on the coldest, snowiest morning of the entire year? The rare chance to race with their dogs. 

On Saturday, Jan. 29, Renfroe Middle School was bustling with loud music, loud barks and lots of joy as Decatur’s own Run With The Dogs 5k (RWTD) returned for its 18th annual race. After a virtual competition last year, runners and dogs alike were thrilled to return to an in-person event. 

Not only is the race extremely popular amongst Decatur residents, but it also happens to be the “Top Dog Friendly Race/Walk” in the United States. There aren’t actually many races that encourage dogs to join in the way RWTD does. 

“Most races are pretty clear that they don’t want dogs,”  RWTD committee chair Leslie Joiner said.

It’s understandable why; dogs may fight with each other, and runners may trip over leashes. However, when dogs are the purpose of the race, people are more conscious. 

“We’ve been able to make it work really well,” Joiner said. 

The “bring your dog” aspect is only one reason the race is so popular. Runners covet the long-sleeve shirt that depicts the year’s “Face of the Race,” a dog who won a cuteness contest for the title. This year’s winner is a dog named Trout. 

The race also has a registration fee. The money collected supports the Decatur Bulldog Boosters, a non-profit organization that fundraises for Decatur athletic programs.

“I think a lot of people can get behind the idea of supporting our athletes,”  Joiner said, “People just love to come out for this race.”