We’ve heard it so many times: “a dog is a man’s best friend.” But what about “a dog is an ultra runner’s perfect running mate”? When you see Laurie Beyer pounding the dirt on a grueling run, you will also see Luna, a golden mix, right by her side.
Laurie, a teacher at Twin Rivers elementary school, started running when she was 45-years-old. “I was out of shape and decided to join the running club, gO!,” says Laurie. “My first race was a marathon in Long Beach and I loved it.” Yes, her first race was a marathon! After that, Laurie started training for her first trail run, the AR 50 miler. This was a completely different type of running but Laurie said she was in shape after running a marathon and felt she could be ready for the AR 50 in April.
Initially Laurie had a dog who would run one mile a day with her. Unfortunately, that pet passed away. When Laurie decided she wanted another running companion, she went to Homeward Bound Golden Retriever and Rescue Sanctuary. That’s where she met Luna. Luna was able to run four miles a day, but grew stronger quickly as Laurie gradually extended their runs. Luna trained with Laurie for the AR 50 but didn’t run the race. Luna’s longest run so far is 31 miles. “I took a month off from running after the AR 50 and Luna got depressed. You could see it!” says Laurie. The minute Laurie and Luna were back on the trail, Luna was back to being herself again.
Since you can’t ask a dog if they are feeling ok or if the pace is good, I asked Laurie how someone would know if the dog is doing alright. Laurie has done a lot of research on dogs and running and always makes sure there is a water source along the trail. “Every four miles Luna either drinks or soaks her body in water,” says Laurie. Luna ran Way too Cool with Laurie. During their training for this race, the coach put Luna on the tracking list with all the other runners. This four legged force to be reckoned with logged 1,000 to 1,200 miles in a year.
Laurie says Luna likes running with the men. “She picks up the scent of the guys and then pushes me to run faster,” says Laurie. “I don’t know her limit but right now I feel good about how we are training and the races we do together.”
Laurie’s love for running was over shadowed by health issues the past few years. This is Laurie’s first year back to ultra-running. Luna will be in step with Laurie at the Salmon Falls 50K on February 27. Laurie ran her first ultra-run with Tim Casagrande, the director of Salmon Falls. “I’m excited to run this race since Tim helped me train for the AR 50 giving me encouragement along the way.” It sounds like having someone by her side makes running on the open trail a challenge that Laurie is up for time and time again.