The Sherbourne CaniX races held over the weekend of the 23rd & 24th February were again very close to K9 Trail Time HQ and the course was set in the beautiful Sherbourne Estate on National Trust land. We arrived early Saturday morning in the freezing cold minus temperatures to be directed into a big fenced field for parking. The field was great for letting the dogs off lead together and there aren’t many events where there is such a secure area for this, so it was great to see them all running around before and after the races.
The start chute was through a wooded area just outside the camping field down the estate track and took you alongside the roads that brought you to the venue. I hardly noticed the roads, as the woods were thick enough to ensure that you felt like you were in a forest, although in reality it was fairly small area of woodland we were running through. The first mile or so was quick, with no hills but the frozen mud made for some tricky surfaces under foot at times.
At the end of the woodland, a left turn took you onto a hardpacked farm track and down a hill with open fields on the right hand side. It was a chance to really pick up some speed (if you so wished!) and apart from an uphill in the middle, took you down hill all the way into the village of Sherbourne. A sharp left hand turn through a gate took you back into a wooded area filled with snowdrops which was lovely to run through. A fairly steady uphill led the canicross racers winding through more woodland, with more snowdrops, until a right hand turn took you out onto another farm track and back towards the start.
The final run into the finish was thankfully slightly downhill and allowed us to end the 5.8km course with some breath left! I found the course a pleasure to run and even dressed up for Sundays run just for a giggle. To summarise: a scenic canicross course with some long undulating sections designed to test racing stamina, suitable for beginners and experienced runners alike, I hope this one makes a regular appearance in the racing calender.