Cheltenham End of Season Race Report

This race report is a little late as the event was on the 19th May but I was hoping for some professional pictures which I unfortunately don’t have.  The end of season race in the CaniX championship has, for the past 4 years I have attended it, been held at Cheltenham racecourse which is just down the road from K9 Trail Time HQ. However I believe this was the last time it will be held here as the building is being re-designed.

The Cheltenham CaniX event is always well attended, due more to the fact the prizes are given out for the seasons Champions than the course itself is particularly fun to run. The 5km is set up of an outer loop around the course and an inner loop with an overlap on the furthest side of the course from the stands. Most of the course is on wood chip, tarmac or sand with some grassy areas and you can also run on the grass on the edge of the tarmac roads too. The course is all open with no trees or shelter from the elements and so is prone to being too hot at this time of the year for the dogs to really race.

This year was no exception and although the start time was brought forward it was still rather warm for the dogs to be running in. As always there were additional water points on the course and people were given the option to run without their dogs but most of us chose to run with our dogs but not race. It is a bit of a tradition for competitors to wear fancy dress for the last race of the season too, so we chose this year to canicross 80’s style!

The dogs weren't impressed by the 80's get up! Photo courtesy of Karen Richardson

The dogs weren’t impressed by the 80’s get up! Photo courtesy of Karen Richardson

The course is fairly flat but with a few gentle slopes and is perfect for the beginner canicrosser, so it’s ironic that it’s the last race of the season. We completed it one of our slowest times ever for a 5km course which was due to our frequent water stops and the fact I had to hold my purple wig on most of the way round!

After the race I think everyone managed to enjoy the sun and the refreshments provided by a local caterer before the days’ prize giving and of course the main Championship results prize giving. This year CSJ were the main sponsor again and their year’s supply of dog food lasted us well into 2013 for all 3 dogs from winning the Female Scooter Championship for the 2011/2012 season last year.

This year we managed 3rd place in the Female Bikejor Championship (out of 28) which I was really proud of as it was our first full season of bikejor and some of the races were particularly tough. We also managed 6th in the Female 2 dog Championship (out of 34) which just goes to show if you put the hard work and training in, then anyone can achieve great things with their dogs.

I am particularly proud of our achievements this season, as I have ongoing issues with the injuries to my ankle ligaments in both legs and training last year was particularly tough because I spent most of my time falling over in the mud! It was one of the wettest autumns we have ever had and what seemed like 6 months of mud and rain took it’s toll on my ability to train.

The highlight of the season for me was the European Canicross Federation Championships and picking up a European ranking of 11th for Bikejor and 29th for Female Canicross (in a very competitive field!). I’m not sure what next season will hold for us as there are lots of changes within the sport but I’m hoping that Europe beckons for Team Thomas and with the dogs passported and ready to go – who knows?!

Our Bikejor Championship Trophy has pride of place in our house!

Our Bikejor Championship Trophy has pride of place in our house!

For information on next seasons’ CaniX events see http://www.cani-cross.co.uk/cc_calendar.shtml

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