Endurance athlete Mikael Lindnord issued this statement after completing the grueling 430-mile Adventure Racing World Championship in the Amazon jungle: "I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship. Instead, I got a new friend."
That friend is Arthur, a remarkable dog who decided, after being fed a meatball, that he no longer wished to be a stray jungle mutt; that he’d stick with Lindnord and Team Peak Performance regardless of circumstances.
The dog had appeared mysteriously as the Swedish team was resting and refueling, before embarking on the final two legs of a race that many consider to be the world’s most grueling competition.
Lindnord saw a hungry look, and flung the dog a meatball, without thinking about possible consequences.
The AR World Championship involves trekking, swimming, and kayaking in extreme conditions--it’s not what one would call dog-friendly.
But when Lindnord fed the dog, which would soon be named Arthur, and an unbreakable bond was formed.
Arthur embarked with the four-man team, and followed along as the racers trudged through and often became stuck in mud.
Stated Lindnord on the Peak Performance blog: "At one stage we had to take a break and the dog was totally wrecked. We opened two cans of food and let him eat, because he could find no food at all in the jungle."
One of the legs was a 36-mile kayak run along the Ecuadorian coast.
Reported the Daily Mail:
"Before one of the segments of the race-a 36 mile kayak around the coast-organizers warned the team that taking Arthur along posed a risk to his and their safety.
"They tried to set off without him, but as they left he jumped into the water beside them and started desperately paddling.
"Lindnord, heartbroken by the site of Arthur struggling in the water, picked him up, put him in the kayak and let him stay for the rest of the journey.
"The gesture prompted a standing ovation and cheers from spectators watching from the banks."
Lindnord elaborated on the blog: "A few times he jumped in to the water and took a swim, and then he crawled back up again and was freezing so he got to wear our jackets.
“One time we got quite close to land and he jumped off and swam to the shore, and we thought that was the last we were gonna see from him. But he ran on the road for a bit and then he swam back to us.”
Team Peak Performance ended up in 12th place, but generated the most headlines because of the amazing dog they had named Arthur, who has since healed from its many small wounds and has been adopted by Lindnord
Understandably, Team Peak Performance has picked up many new supporters on Facebook.
Reads one of hundreds of comments: “Best story of 2014…. May the whole team be blessed for the kindness of your actions.”
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