We enjoy Canicross racing with our dogs. For those who do not know what Canicross is, it is the sport of running with your dog cross- country. The dog is attached to the runner using a comfy non-restrictive harness on the dog, bungee line between the two and hip belt on the runner.
Virtual Canicross races have really taken off during lockdown. We enter events online, usually 5 kilometer Canicross races. Then we time ourselves running with the dog on a sports watch or app such as Garmin or Strava. These measure the time and distance. The devices have to be set on “race” mode so they don’t pause the time when you stop for a breather or the dog needs a call of nature.
The beauty of virtual races is that you can choose your own local route and make it as fast or tricky as you like. Rules usually dictate that the course can be no more than 50% downhill and you cannot follow a pace-setter on a bike! The results rely on honesty to an extent but why cheat on yourself? The results are then submitted by sending a photo of your device which includes time and distance, to the race organisers, who produce charts of rankings and send your medal. Profits generally go to many charitable causes including dog rescue.
Dennis and Dexter have loved these races. Getting their harnesses on means time for great fun in the fresh air and running in the beautiful forest. For us the advantages include no travelling around the country to compete, no fuel costs, minimal entry fees, no ‘Greggs’ outlay at services!. The dogs have a lovely run, no stress of a race with other dogs and all back home for breakfast when cooled down.
We have amassed more medals than in a normal Canicross season too!
If we are doing an event for mileage, not time, we choose smaller trails, single track, hills and mud. If it’s an all-out buster of a speed race, we choose a section of cycle trail which is reasonably flat underfoot and with few distractions, such as wild boar .
NEWS POSTED 26/05/2023:
(From Barb Morris)
Our Hamilton’s Dennis (age 9 and a half) and DJ (2 yrs of age) were both brilliant at the Canix Fur Nations 2023 competition.
This is a fun series of Canicross races held at three different three locations.
Teams from England, Scotland and Wales compete for points for the overall winner’s trophy.
Competitors can run for their chosen country for fun.
The first three races of the Fur Nations were held at Pembrey, Wales. This famous ‘beach race’ involves a hundred dogs and runners sprinting up the beach for a mile, around some rocks, then back.
The second leg was at Cannock, England and the third at Glamis Castle, Scotland.
Dennis and DJ enjoyed themselves running for Wales!
Fast CAT (Coursing Ability Test)……U.S.A
Club member Ashley Hammock writes:
While not showing in conformation, (See ‘OVERSEAS NEWS’ page) Rosie has taken to a fantastic sport that the AKC has called, Fast CAT (Coursing Ability Test). This sport is designed to test the dog’s ability and prey drive to chase a lure over a 100 yard distance. This is an exciting sport that is gaining in popularity all over the US and open to all breed and mixed breeds. The AKC even offers an invitational competition at the end of the year for the top of each breed to compete. Dogs can earn titles in this sport and the points are calculated by how fast the dog covers the 100 yard distance in miles per hour. Rosie is not the first Hamiltonstovare to compete in Fast CAT, that honor is held by her kennel-mate, Selene, (CH Oceania Use Any Means DN DJA). Rosie is the first Hamiltonstovare to earn a title in the sport, the introductory BCAT title. She earned the title very quickly, in just 7 runs. Her current average mph is 23.20 and she was invited to this year’s national invitational in Orlando, Florida. To anyone with dogs in the US, please let them know that this sport is open to them and a lot of fun, all they need to do is register their dog with the AKC and find a trial close to them by using the event search on the AKC website.