After having run a whole 3 times with Baloo at club runs and absolutely loved it I felt she had done really well with dogs passing her and us making passes so I bit the bullet and entered our first event. It was a case of all the gear and no idea though! I was familiar with Trifarm and the canal path so it felt an ideal first event and being close to home was a real bonus. So excited to be part of the Club I borrowed a t-shirt off Amanda as I wanted to represent Tailrunners.

I’ve done running events before but was surprised how once I was there and had Baloo out of the car I wasn’t nervous at all. This was probably because she kept me busy calming her down, other dogs barking and getting excited frenzy her a bit!

I was second off and glad I was swiftly overtaken as the chap out in front went the wrong way and straight out onto the road instead of completing even the first lap round the lake, so I was pleased I still had someone to follow.

In all our runs so far Baloo has always gone to the toilet within about 600m of starting and she didn’t fail this time, scoop at the ready it was a speedy pit stop and Tony took it off me on completion of the first lap of the lake.

Baloo normally stops about 3 times for a little rest on any runs we have done, she was heading to puddles (of which there were plenty) slowing slightly so I directed her to one and made her lay down briefly on completion of lap two, just a quick breather and then we were off again. Steven passed us with Ripley and checked we were ok and we watched him disappear in front of us.

As we joined the canal path it looked like a skid pan but we both had reasonable traction so splashed through the muddy puddles, no doubt splashing the fishermen who were on a competition themselves.

Then came the fields …….she hurdled the tree trunk across the path and then the hard work began, shoe sucking, mud splashing, foot sinking blooming hard work fields, it was the toughest bit of the course. Baloo slowed a bit but maintained her pace, I was constantly watching her back legs making sure she wasn’t slipping too much which could cause over stretching as her main trauma was in her pelvis and her back left leg is her weak leg and had major nerve damage. As much as this is great fun and she loves it, she is a determined Mali so I need to be the one that throws the towel in if I think she is at risk of injury.

The bridge with the two bars came as a bit of a shock, she scooted under the bar so I had to unclip her. Luckily for me she is good with the wait command so took it nice and easy, we took our time with a bit of a delay but off we went again for more mud hopping.

Back on the tow path relieved we had made it across the field without me falling over, I couldn’t believe we had got this far with no more rest stops. I kept encouraging her and telling her she was a good girl and that there wasn’t far to go. She slowed up a bit more once we got next to the lake but it’s as if she wanted to keep running for me.

Across the finish line to support from the team was fantastic. A great first event even if the weather was appalling. Great support from a great club.

Now I think I should mention racing incidents. Firstly I class pooping as an incident that shouldn’t be repeated but I think I’ve lost that battle! Veering across in front of a chap, I’m not sure what she was doing but he didn’t fall over and I apologised profusely, he was very kind. Two lunges towards dogs which hadn’t called to me when they were passing so I think she was reprimanding them for sneaking up on us or maybe they had nice doggy aftershave on.

I only found one thing unnerving and it did distract Baloo a little and that was the little dog that was barking as it was running up behind us, I just kept thinking ankle biter!

I’m amazed how well she did, it was our fastest 5k, she was tired when we got home so I let her sleep then gave her a massage. Today (the day after) there was no stiffness or soreness, I gave her an easy day with a half hour lead walk and then another massage. We look forward to our next run!