Sunday, June 17, 2007

Walkies record

Canine enthusiasts on Tyneside believe they have smashed the record for the world's biggest collective dog walk.

Organisers of the Butcher's Great North Dog Walk in South Shields said there had been an "unbelievable turnout" on the annual 3.5 mile (5.6km) course. The event has broken the Guinness World Record - currently 7,766 dogs - each year for the past four years, beating attempts by the USA and Canada.

Founder Tony Carlisle said 9,128 had crossed the line by Sunday lunchtime.

Similar record attempts have been held in Texas, Connecticut and Toronto. During the 2006 walk, 147 of the 209 breeds recognised by the Kennel Club completed the course.

Mr Carlisle, a local comprehensive schoolteacher, first organised the event in 1990, and has to date raised nearly £2.5m for charitable causes.

Speaking from the finishing line, he said: "I can't believe how many people have turned out today. I'm looking at a sea of dogs and dog walkers. Obviously it's not yet official, but by my count 9,128 dogs have been walked across the line already, so the figure's likely to be much higher by the end of the day. We've got competition from the USA and Canada, but they've not been able to get anywhere near as many as us. This fantastic turnout should keep the record in the UK."

An official from Guinness is on hand to count the dogs, which are registered by their owners on arrival at the town's Gypsies Green Stadium. Under the rules, all dogs must be on a lead, and any ill-tempered or dangerous breeds are muzzled. Vets, St John Ambulance staff and Northumbria Police are also on standby around the course.

No comments: