Fudge: Finding joy at every event

Fudge was born to parkrun.

His human, James Doherty, is a keen parkrunner himself, with 289 finishes to his name at the time of chatting.

But parkrun has never been the same since Fudge came into his life.

Fudge is a cavoodle – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Poodle – and was born missing his left eye. He came into the Doherty’s home after their previous dog, a Newfoundland, went back to its breeder.

“We thought it was too soon to get another dog but Fudge became a firm family favourite,” says James.

“Then we went from a 50kg dog to a 2kg puppy. We went to Cornwall parkrun before he was allowed to be on the ground – my son was holding him while I was running.

“Fudge dropped to the ground and started running between the leaders’ legs.”

And that was the start of Fudge at parkrun.


He’s now 5 – his birthday is the same as parkrun so easy to remember, and appropriate for him, James says, given his love of the free 5km.

“I think we’ve just gone past the 150 events together, we celebrated that at Millwater parkrun when we returned from lockdown. My mother has knitted him milestone jerseys.

“We didn’t know he would be a running dog.”

Fudge has run mostly at Millwater, though he’s also visited the other Auckland parkruns, plus tested the courses for two new events.

James started him off by running a kilometre at a time and before too long Fudge was running the whole way.

His favourite time of year has been the now defunct New Year’s Day double.

“We ran at Western Springs and then we drove to Hobsonville Point. He ran faster at the second one.


“Dogs are such a nice part of parkrun. They provide a great icebreaker for people. parkrun is pretty sociable anyway but it’s something that enables people to be able to take their dogs too.

“A lot of kids come up and ask if they can pat Fudge.”

James has also run at Hamilton Lake parkrun but Fudge isn’t such a great long distance traveller.

His human says it’s because he gets so excited when he gets in the car to go anywhere.

“But he knows when we’re close to a parkrun course. I love the joy he gets out of parkrun.

“I’ve got three kids and I’ve brought them along to parkrun and they’ve all got their Junior 10 milestone, but Fudge has much more enjoyment from it.”


Fudge is an obedient parkrunner, staying quiet for the important run briefing, but as soon as the runners move to the start line he knows the best part is about to come.

“He barks, spins around and tries to leap to catch the start. The whole time he’s got this happy face.”

James says he loves how everyone has fun at parkrun, especially when there are dress-up occasions.

For the July restart, when New Zealand events adopted a country, Millwater adopted Italy and Fudge had an Italian flag knitted by James’ mother.

He also has a bumblebee outfit.

“For my 100th run at Cornwall park I wanted to do something fun, so I joggled (running and juggling). That was quite a challenge!”

James has a couple of tips for dog owners wanting to give parkrun a go, the first is to start small, the second is to do a warm up run.

“It reduces parkrun mini stops, but not always.”

4 replies on “Fudge: Finding joy at every event”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *