Running with Dogs – One man and his wolf pack
Running with Dogs! It’s a concept that had been eating away at me for some time. Stuck in the back of my mind and niggling away. But as always, “cobblers shoes” were always on hand…
There was always too much work and never the time to shoot a creative short film for myself. Bills had to be paid and rightfully, as an owner of a commercial video production company, my client productions will always come first and always take pride of place. Then it happened. The Covid-19 pandemic broke across the globe and the UK fell into twelve weeks of lockdown. Work had ceased and the realisation crept up on me day by day, that Running with Dogs may just become a reality. As restrictions eased, I was now locking up my car on a quiet Norfolk countryside driveway, met for the last time not by the sound of birds chirping, but a chorus of howls that would be more in place in the heart of a Transylvanian forest. We were recording the last of our voice over for Running with Dogs.
Neil Featherby is a well known face in Norfolk, a regular contributor to local press wit a weekly running column in the EDP. Neil had a had a privileged career as an athlete. He represented England and Great Britain on a number of occasions including a World and European Cup. He competed in marathons and events all around the World whilst also winning the Leicester, Wolverhampton, Bungay and Norfolk (four times) marathons in the UK. He even boasts personal best times of 29 mins 28 secs for 10k, 49:47 for 10 miles and 2 hours 17 mins 35 seconds for the marathon. In International Competition, he also took the runners up position whilst running for England in Aberdeen as well as finishing 3rd in The Hong Kong, Malta, Bermuda and Luton Home Countries Marathons. Further honours include Norfolk AAA Marathon Champion 1986/87/89/90, Eastern Counties Marathon Champion 1987/89/90, South of England Marathon Silver Medalist 1991 and South of England Half Marathon Bronze Medalist 1992. Neil is also a coaching advisor offering training advice on many aspects of specific fitness and sports nutrition for individuals and groups which includes a number of World Class and Elite sportsmen.
Neil holds diplomas in sports psychology and sports nutrition for which he has written several articles. Neil owns Sportlink, the most prestigious running shop in the county and away from his working and sporting life, he spends a lot of time organising charity raising events to help local causes particularly for animal and rescue centres. Neil is a huge dog animal lover. Running with Dogs is his passion.
Neil and I go back thirty years, but a chance visit to the shop and a catch up sat on the wall outside turned my vision into reality. We talked about the concept and everything just panned out naturally after that.
The days were long. Walking a camera, drone and tripod around fields and woods up to eight 8 miles a day and shooting in locations that could only be reached on foot were at times a logistical nightmare, but not as much as the shame of trying to running full pelt with a camera and steadicam in my hand as Neil literally jogged effortlessly further and further away from me in a matter of seconds.
Running with Dogs is a key part of Neil’s life. He’s obsessed about running, obsessed with Dogs.. But I can’t say too much, it would spoil the film.
We hope you’ll take a few moments to watch Running with Dogs. It’s an emotional short story and we’re humbled to have made it.
A few words from Neil Featherby
On the back of my EDP column this week and the mention of my charity challenge this year, needless to say it has produced several messages asking me for more details and as to why I have kept it fairly quiet up until now.Well the truth being told is that the plan originally had been to run Hadrian’s Wall again back in May with some friends and the same team from when we did it back in Sept 2018. However, this time around was also going to be extra special as the date had been set for May 21st which would have coincided with what would have been the Big Man’s 15th Birthday. The Big Man being Oslo of course who we lost last October, which still cuts me up just thinking about it. However, with him very firmly fixed in my thoughts I am pretty sure we would have smashed it and completed the 84 plus miles over really rugged and hilly terrain well within the 24 hour barrier whilst also raising money for Northern Inuit Dogs, The Hallswood Animal Sanctuary and Nelson’s Journey.
Needless to say it didn’t happen and as we all now know, any plans made pre March of this year went well and truly out of the window after lock down while pretty much turning all our lives upside down. Tia our number two dog also got ill so there was no way I wanted to leave her for any amount of time either.Therefore and starting next Thursday, the plan is to now run, jog and walk Peddars Way and The Norfolk Coastal Footpath over four days Aug 20th – 23rd. I think it will work out somewhere between 33 and 35 miles each day. Doing it over four days also reduces any pressure of busting a gut to get it done in any record time too although a part of me thinks that 30 plus miles each day may prove to be even tougher as fatigue sets in each day. When I say we, that means me, Karen Grapes, Craig Bowen Jones (first two days) and several other friends (Mark Thorpe, Simon Bales, Chas Allen) who have said they would like to come along and join us for a few miles or even a full day. Possibly all the way.With regards to fund raising, we all know that it has been a pretty torrid time for charities and good causes the last few months, so any money we raise will be a bonus. Lots of people have been doing some pretty amazing challenges for their own causes this year and this will now be ours and seriously even a quid will be very much appreciated. Karen is setting up a Go fund me page which will be posted later and every single penny raised will go to our dedicated causes which are The Hallswood Animal Sanctuary, Nelson’s Journey which is headed up by Simon Wright who is so very well known in the running community and NI Dog Rescue. Oslo was a Northern Inuit so this is also my extra bit for him and his memory.If you want to come along and join in with us at any point or help out, then please do let me know in advance.
Lastly, the film with my dogs which so many people have also been asking me about has now been completed. I have to say a huge thank you to Lee Blanchflower who really did produce something which went well beyond my expectations and of that of those very few friends who have seen it.