For the third installment of my observations from the ECF Championships, I wanted to write a quick note about the waist belts the runners were using, as I have noticed a European trend for the belts nicknamed ‘nappy’ belts here in the UK.
These belts are so named because the material on them covers most of your backside and are quite different to the canicross waist belts most of us are used to seeing.
The belts are designed to distribute the force of a dog pulling over a wider area, whilst being breathable and comfortable to wear. The leg straps are mandatory as they are part of the distributing factor and are adjustable but most competitors seem to keep them tight.
My biggest concern when I first saw the belt pictured, was the hook sticking out of the front (originally designed for skijor) but this can be turned into less of a straight out line hook by crossing over the legs straps through it, which pulls it down and this is a trick many Europeans use to make their skijor belts multi-purpose.
There were a number of runners using these waist belts throughout the competition and it was whilst chatting to a competitor that I discovered the trick and can now see the appeal of them. They are extremely lightweight yet tough and durable, with no foam or fleece to bulk it out or hold water (or even sweat -yuk!). There are also a number to choose from and not all of them have the hook for the line.
I have been aware of the belts now for nearly 18 months, as one of our suppliers actually sponsored us with one last year and I like the additional surface area for spreading the pull. Until now I haven’t raced wearing mine but perhaps I should take a leaf out of the European canicrossers’ book and try my next race with a ‘nappy’ belt strapped around my backside!