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Stray dog to top dog: Furgo Dog Run champ reclaims title

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FARGO—Hundreds of 4-legged competitors took over North Fargo Tuesday night.

The Furgo Dog Run hosted a record number of pooches.

Tuesday's Furgo Dog Run is the only sold-out event for Fargo Marathon week.

More than 500 4-legged runners participated.

The winner this year is someone you might not expect.

Don't let her size fool you.

This mutt is 20 pounds of pure tenacity.

Nikki Newman even has the name to match.

"We watch the Young and the Restless together. She's a diva with a troubled past." says Nikki's owner Heather Johnson.

Nikki's parents rescued her as a stray.

"She's been the best thing we've done so far." Heather tells us.

Maybe it was those early years on the streets driving her to pound to the pavement.

She runs a few times weekly with owner Derek Johnson; pacing his 5 minute 30 second mile time.

"That's as fast as I can go, so who knows how fast she could go without me." Derek tells us.

The training has earned this underdog top honors.

Nikki's won all 3 competitive dog races she's entered, including the inaugural Furgo Dog Run.

At the starting line Nikki comes nose-to-nose-to-nose with the other elite athletes.

When they take off, she easily leads the pack.

More than 500 dog race this year; big, small, fluffy and fierce.

It was a furry mass descending through NDSU's campus.

But the first one to reach the finish line?

Nikki and Derek breeze to the end in 9 minutes and 19 seconds, well ahead of the next racers.

The duo adds some more hardware to their collection.

"The smile on her face at the end is just priceless." Heather tell us.

If you're doing the math Nikki and Derek averaged a 5:48 mile time today.

Next up in the marathon events is the Youth Run on Thursday.

Catherine Ross

Catherine joined the WDAY 6 News team as a reporter and photographer in April of 2014 and is honored to bring you stories from around the Red River Valley. She grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis and got her first taste of the news industry during a high school mentorship at Fox 9 in the Twin Cities. Catherine graduated from Emerson College in Boston where she participated in the student-run TV station WEBN and spent a semester in Washington, DC working at Voice of America. Those opportunities gave her a front-row seat to the 2012 Presidential election cycle, reporting at the Iowa Caucuses, Republican National Convention and President Obama’s second inauguration. Now happy to be back closer to family, Catherine enjoys exploring the nature and culture of the upper Midwest. She’s an avid runner, novice foodie and lifelong Twins fan. If you have any story ideas or just want to say hello, Catherine would love to hear from you!

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