How it all began………..have you ever watched your dog and looked at them running and how happy it makes them and thought ‘’I would like to be like that’’ well I had started to get these musings on a regular basis but having not run in years felt a bit of a wally if I just… you know started.
It was actually my agility trainer who gave me that much needed push. We were as usual having a laugh on her field, I mean training, I never took that sport that seriously. Took about a year to get my spaniels nose up!!!! I had always understood that it was far more important to have your dog following your commands from a distance as would set a faster speed time round the course but what I actually enjoyed the most about agility was when I had to race him to get to the next obstacle and she identified with that. I literally loved running, albeit in short bursts, but just running with him. So here was our first step and the lovely Pauline from Crouch Valley Agility let me borrow her own dogs running harness and told me about this sport called canicross and there were regular organised runs every Saturday called parkrun. I had my homework and off I went to investigate.
My first dog-oscar (dogscar)therefore goes to Crouch Valley Agility (like what I did there!?!) My second dogscar is of course parkrun. I would never ever have had the confidence to rock up at such a well organised and well turned out event without my faithful furry and fabulous best friend and yet there we were looking lost but rather hopeful and started running or really canicross.
My third and final Dogscar goes to Flyers Southend. They saw us at the start of this journey and for next probably 17months I was hooked and a regular. Not only did I parkrun but I also joined them as a team, my dog did everything with me and all of the organised group runs we canicross or he free ran, we fast become the go to person if anyone had any dog running queries.
Literally every week I was being inundated with queries on how to best run with your dog. By no means was I an expert but a fast learner and found out there wasn’t any local clubs in the immediate area and with more people joining the club runs with dogs I realised the demands for knowledge and community was there. On 26 August 2014 I set up the facebook page Tailrunners SE Canicross Running Club.
After a Long Sunday Run with my original club we came up with the name and I decided with their permission out of great respect and gratitude to keep the same team colours. Without all of the above we never would have got started. Most poignantly I hope I have set up will be a legacy to my much loved and loyal best friend and team mate Diesel Power my Working Cocker Spaniel. Indeed the club logo will act as a legacy to him being sometimes in white and sometimes in apricot which are of course his lemon roan markings. He inspires and motivates me every day.
Back to business…I befriended as many clubs as possible far and wide and started to enter races to meet other experienced canicrossers, meet suppliers and funded myself through various canine first aid courses and seminars my favourite being the Kennel Club Canine Sports Science Seminars in 2014 and 2015. I got a snap shot about canine athlete nutrition, training, personality profiling, physiotherapy, jumping kinematics and sports conditioning. I attended Level 1 dog instructor training with K9 Solutions dog training. Animal Communication course and most recently canine body language with the Dog Training College, Canicross Clinic with Canicross Trailrunners and am halfway through a two year Galen Canine Myotherapy Diploma.
As keen and competitive canicrossers Diesel and I competed in various races. My proudest being the dog triathlon where we Kayaked, Biked and canicross. We also won the stunning trailscape series 2015-2016 10k series in the North, South, East and West. Another highlight was the New Forest running festival where again we got a podium finish and finally where we attended a NSDC sled dog event amongst all the Siberian Huskys there I was with my little spaniel.
The club itself has gone from strength to strength..not without a few hiccups along the way, life has a habit of doing that but I can honestly say the club is at its strongest its ever been and I have the committee and members to thank for that. We have a high number of members that turn out consistently at each meet.
We are fully insured for Public Liability, and affiliated with BSSF and for its second year have secured access for Tri Dog Training. We have a very supportive, silly and strong team and committee who are only looking to push the club forward. We are hopeful to introduce other sports, our core will always be having fun while we canicross but also bring on more bikejor, swim and also SUP and Kayaking as well as rehabilitation and conditioning.
What we love about our club and the feedback from members is its fun! I am privileged to have set out and had my podium moments and am very proud of them but now as ever want the club to grow. To bring everything we have learnt and continue to learn and bring on our second dog to compete at high level with my boyfriend. To introduce more people like me who just fancied going for a run with their dog into the sport safely and securely. Just to get one dog out of running on a neck line and in the proper equipment I know we have achieved great things.
The fun, friendship and love of all our dogs makes me very proud of this club and its committee. Whenever I do hang up my trail trainers I know I will have friends for life through the love and life of our dogs and sport Do more with your dog and make it fun! Happy trails.
Amanda & Diesel