Lessons from Bud on Running


By David Yon


This is the tale of Bud, a 60 plus pound canine in distress, who learned what most runners know. Tallahassee has a great running community, with GWTC at its center. And while you can talk about running for the health benefits, it is not real convincing when you watch runners limp around or fall asleep in the middle of a lecture. No, far more important reasons for running are the friendship you build and the stories you share during the many miles on the roads and trails.

Bud’s trouble began New Year’s Eve as he frolicked through a construction and debris site bordering a national forest. One moment he was chasing a squirrel in dog heaven, the next he was scrambling in mid air tying to change his legs to wings 40 or 50 feet above a pit filled with quick sand and water. Now all dogs in distress know who to call when they are in big trouble – Bruce Moore and Fran McLean. And after he looked down and saw the pit, then up and saw a sheer unclimbable wall that is just what Bud did.

The Wild Mountain Scramble that Bruce and Fran, along with Ray Hanlon, nurture each New Year’s Eve is a low-key event that brings friends together on New Year’s Eve to run five miles in the Forest and celebrate a new year. Luckily for Bud, his near calamity occurred close enough to the race course for Bruce to hear his pitiful wailing. When Bruce went to investigate, he learned that, yes, dogs can fly. There simply was no other way to explain how Bud wound up perched in a tiny hole carved out of the clay mountain side. Bruce stared across a virtual canyon in awe at the sight. Before long, a group of 15-20 runners was scrambling around the construction and debris sight looking for a way to get Bud down. Gary Droze, the winner of the race, had traded in his first place race trophy on rags, chains and ropes that he hoped to tie together and use to scale down the cliff to rescue Bud. It took a Deputy Sheriff, the foreman of the C&D site, and finally the fire department to get Bud down, but no one was going home until it happened. The hero of the day was Bob Obenear, a fireman who tied a rope to the tree at the top of the cliff and repelled down beside Bud. There was an anxious moment, as Bud evaluated whether Bob was friend or foe. But after a few soothing words, Bob slipped a harness around Bud and lowered him to the ground.

As everyone gathered around the post race campfire later, the pain came from the side-splitting laughter as the story of Bud was told and retold. Five miles of running had left my hamstring inflamed, but a night of rescue had confirmed once again why I keep running. Click here for the long version of Bud’s story.