Harry Hoverdog

It all started when New South Wales parkrunner Jill McClintock took a photo of her toy cavoodle (toy poodle x King Charles cavalier) Harry appearing to hover.

Since then the barkrunner has won over hordes of fans eager to watch him jump through the selfie frames at parkruns.

He got so well known that people would ask Jill if he had an Instagram account – so she created one.

Harry is 11, described by Jill as “super friendly and very smart”.

She started to train him when he was 18 months old and runs on her left and can follow directional commands.

“This is very helpful when you want to turn a corner or overtake someone as I can direct him which way to go and prevents the likelihood of tripping,” Jill says.

“We always try to run to the left at parkrun and then with him to my left, he does not get in anyone else’s way.

“He has a full repertoire of tricks and one of his favourite at parkrun is to jump through the parkrun sign.”

Finding parkrun

Jill only learned of parkrun in 2019 from Running Mums Australia on facebook.

“I was coming back from a knee reconstruction and thought it might provide me with some motivation.

“It also got me out the door to give Harryhoverdog a good run.

“I fell in love with parkrun at my first run in December 2019. Of the 92 weeks (yes, I counted them up) since, I have only run 27 weeks. This is due to covid and the subsequent lockdowns.

“I cannot wait for lockdown to end so we can all get together and safely enjoy our parkruns once again.”

Jill lives in Roseville in the upper north shore of Sydney. Her first parkrun was at Willoughby and since then she’s run at 16 New South Wales events in all plus one in Queensland.

“My first tourist run was my second ever parkrun at Harris Avenue. We travelled to Queensland for Christmas and stayed with family at Narangba. It was a nice 1km warm up walk to this parkrun.”


“I joined the Aussie parkrun tourism (unofficial) facebook group where I found out about all the challenges.

“I was already enjoying visiting new parkruns, but this added some fun and inspired me to start working on my challenges.

“I’m not really an early bird so I do like the 8am start times, especially in winter. My earliest start however, was probably to Kamay, leaving Roseville at 5.45am for a 7am start.

“I hadn’t been there before and it got me my “K” for the alphabet challenge.

“My longest drive to parkrun was an hour to Penrith Lakes. I was invited by some ladies I met from Penrith at the Mother’s Day Classic at Western Sydney Parklands when they recognised my dog from his social media posts.

“I think it may have been Harry who was invited and I was just his driver!

“The best thing about my parkrun travels is reconnecting with fellow runners as I ‘bump’ into them at different locations.”


“Having Harryhoverdog running by my side is fun and I’ve had people from as far away as Cairns recognise him and want have their photo taken with him.

“Harry has done every parkrun with me except at The Entrance, when we were away on holiday.

“People often come up to me at parkrun and ask, “is that Harryhoverdog?”

“They are very happy to meet him and make a big fuss of him. He also gets recognised at trail races and other dog friendly running events.

“The best was at the Mother’s Day Classic at Western Sydney Parklands.

“We were standing at the registration table when I heard, “Hello! Hello! Excuse me! Is that Harryhoverdog?”

“It was wonderful to meet some ladies from Penrith and we have caught up numerous times since at different parkruns.”

“His last post on social media was after I broke my fibula trail running in the Blue Mountains in June. It’s been a long road to recovery. I’m up to 5km walking now and hope to be back to running soon.”

Jill wanted readers to understand that Harry runs on a leash but hover photos happen off leash before or after the event.

This story was originally published in Issue 7 of Runs With a Barcode magazine.

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