Last week I spotted a potential UTDX track at my church and decided to plot something to try today. I plotted it on Google Earth. Today I drove around the church and thought I could probably improve it upon seeing the grounds but decided I would stick to the plan, which would make the training track a bit more challenging. To my delight, Ben ran this track in 15 minutes and aside from one article buried under leaves, he was very confident today.
This post shows you photos with the track line drawn on them, and matching videos, so you can see the visual of the track I laid, and then watch how Ben handled it! Of course, I know where it goes, but I hope you will see that Ben is in charge and I let him make the decisions. When he is right, I quietly say “yes!” to let him know he is a good boy.
Background details about plotting and laying the track
On Google Earth it was 630 m, but using my Tom Tom Runner’s Watch it was 770 m. That is a big discrepancy but I probably added a few more steps in that were not accounted for on Google Earth, as a few legs required some “meanders.” When I laid it, I took photos of each leg. Below, I will share the photos of the legs with pink lines that show the track. Then I will give a link to the video so you can see how Ben did on each portion!
When we were leaving the church to let the track age, the parking lot was filling up and there was obviously an event taking place. When we returned to run the track, cars were lined up to leave. And so I knew the parking lot was very contaminated in the area of his non-veg turn at the end. However, he did a beautiful turn on rails. So amazing to see! (I know – spoiler!)
The total length of the track is 770 meters or 3/4 of a kilometer. An actual UTDX would not be this long.I could find easy ways to shorten it by moving the start up, and by altering the path around the back of the church to be simpler (in the photos below I use an orange line to show how I might consider changing it if this was an actual test track). This track was laid at 9:30 am and run at 12:30 pm.
Below you will find a breakdown of the track in sections with photos and video:
- First legs and first turn
- Parking lot and wood article
- Photos showing the track – Legs 4-7 along the back of the church, through the seacans to a cloth glove, article 3
- Photos showing the track from the cloth glove to the hard surface (non-veg) turn to the end
- Video of Judy Wallace and her Border Collie Lark running the entire track freshly run by Ben! Judy followed us and put down articles for Lark then ran her right away. It was very motivating for Lark and she does a wonderful job!
1. First legs – Photos showing the track (pink line)
VIDEO 1 – Start and first turn
Here is a video of Ben on leg one, and his turn onto leg two leading up to the cloth article. He actually had trouble finding the article – and did a circular search for it. It was buried under leaves. I helped him to find it – he showed that he knew it was there.
2. Parking lot and wood article
VIDEO – 2nd turn onto parking lot and wood article
This is a video of Ben going from Leg 2 along the trees, out onto the parking lot to find his wood article…
3. Photos showing the track – Legs 4-7 along the back of the church, through the seacans to a cloth glove, article 3
VIDEO 3 – Mid-track behind the church and through the seacans to the cloth glove – article 3
4. Photos showing the track from the cloth glove to the hard surface (non-veg) turn to the end
VIDEO 4 – End of the track and parking lot turn
5. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!
After Ben was finished his 3 hour old track, my friend Judy Wallace ran the track while it was fresh with her 1 year old Border Collie Lark. Judy only got Lark this summer and she has been working hard with her to get ready for a TD. Lark has been a wonderful dog to train, and Judy is an experienced tracker, having already trained her Border Collie – Brittany cross Shiloe (who is also a very solid tracker). All of that handling experience is coming in handy because Lark is really learning fast!
While I ran this track with Ben, Judy followed and put down articles for Lark. Lark has been doing very well, so Judy gambled that Lark would try the entire track. Lark really dug in and tried to run it! She found it incredibly motivating to follow Ben’s track. Here are her videos. You will see the familiar locations from above. She did an awesome job! You’ll be seeing a lot more of Little Miss Marlarky in the future!
Lark video – hard surface to wood article
Lark video 2 – Mid Track
I am so sorry that my iPhone ran out of room and I only have photos of the end of Lark’s beautiful run. She found the hard surface turn but paused to stare at people talking by their truck. Then she whirled off to the right, to find her leather glove. Pretty amazing girl. You really don’t see this every day.
I hope you have enjoyed this post about our tracking day today.
It is such a wonderful, positive sport.
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