A WORLD-RECORD setting runner has slammed an international race set in the US for its treatment of dogs.

Fiona Oakes, marathon runner and head of Tower Hill Stables animal sanctuary in the Dengie, has written to the CEO of the Iditarod urging him to remove the dogs from the 1,000-mile race.

Described as the “last great race on earth”, it involves teams of 14 dogs pulling sleds across Alaska over the course of two weeks. But it has come under fire from animal rights group Peta after it stated that the dogs are made to suffer by running long distances.

Vegan Fiona has supported the campaign by writing a letter to Rob Urbach of the Iditarod Trail committee in a bid to persuade race organisers to take the competition in a “fresh, humane direction”.

She said: “Lost sponsorships, depleted financial reserves, and scathing exposés have irrevocably changed perceptions of the race.

“But most significant of all is the groundswell of public opposition to forcing dogs to run vast distances, sometimes at the cost of their lives.

“You can transform what’s increasingly viewed as a torture test for dogs into an elite, world-class event by reinventing the Iditarod so that it celebrates true human talent and endurance.

“By replacing dogs with elite athletes who demonstrate their own skill and stamina, the Iditarod would attract a new and growing audience – and spare dogs a life of pain and misery.

“I would be one of the many athletes eager to participate in such a revitalised race.”

The Iditarod website says the dogs receive “exemplary care”.

Fiona holds four Guinness World Records and four marathon course records, has completed the Marathon des Sables three times, and has won the Antarctic Ice Marathon and the North Pole Marathon.

A film called Running For Good tracks her achievements.