Saturday 29th of January 2022 beginners run and club run.
I feel the session shouldn’t go without mention on our website as even though it wasn’t an actual ‘’event’’ it was a very big deal for the club. This was our first run at our new home ground Writtle University College.
We decided to kick off these meets with a beginner’s session followed by a club run. I always like to overbook, these beginner sessions as invariably when the reality of getting up early on a Saturday morning for a person new to the sport loses its appeal a little bit when it is dark and cold outside and it is the weekend!!!!
Once you become a canicrosser you get used to getting up and going out early. But for beginners I always expect a few last minute dropouts and I don’t blame them! I was a little bit tired too this morning having woken up at 4.30am because I was so excited about the planned day ahead.
I normally run the beginner sessions on my own and only ask for an additional helper of the tail runner (or sweeper). But on this session as it was a bit special, I did ask for extra helpers. And thank goodness that I did because the total turnout for the beginner session was 26!
I excelled myself by not being late. Everybody excelled themselves with the handling of their dogs and their positive attitude. The dogs were absolutely brilliant. We helped them into various size harnesses. We had parson terrier right up to a dutch herder!
With our teammates and helpers, we had all the paperwork signed off, and speedily done and put away. We had the harnesses fitted – bear in mind a massive selection of harnesses had been donated by our teammates. The dogs were all kitted up into a suitable Canicross or some other suitable style of ‘’Y’’ style harness and a bungee line and human running belt. We even got the flag erected and some selfie frames made in time!
I looked out to the sea of faces, and there was a lot of nervous, anxious smiles. But still everyone came along had the right attitude, and especially grateful to the family members that came along too just to support. Everyone warmed up their dogs nicely. All the dogs were well behaved. I enjoyed watching a spaniel, not really taking the warm up too seriously and decided it was much more important to sniff the ground. But then when we set the group off running, the spaniel was running ahead like a true Canicross dog. I also enjoyed the barking dogs that again, as soon as we started off running, they just got on with the job in hand.
I was so happy to see every single beginner when running, not holding onto the bungee lead which often people do, for extra security, because this is attached to you were on the waist so you don’t need to hold on. With canicross kit you both are running in a natural running style with their dogs.
During the session we had warmed up the dogs, ran and were cooled down and made sure they all got goodie bags. Then we had the club run. And again, it was so nice to see my teammates. For me I can just take a step down from being the run leader and hand over this to my second in command Tony. I literally just go for a run with my dogs. It was absolutely awesome for our teammates to travel over to the new home grounds. We had visitors join us who run in other clubs too. Everyone I hope received a warm welcome and we had lovely run, absolutely no incidences.
We met one polite horse rider who gave us permission to cross their path. All of the gates that were opened were closed behind us. All dog mess was cleared up, all equipment squared away. We had a nice social back at the vehicles where we took time taking some selfies with our fantastic new signage. Of course, being very grateful for our expert cake makers in the group who made human cakes which far exceeded my dog bakes I made!!! Was a really, really lovely run. I hope to get feedback from people on what we did right what we did wrong and how we can do better.
I certainly will next time have all the equipment set up in a field to take us away from the car park area where we just had one horse rider pass through – they could have taken different routes through but equally I’ll make sure that we don’t set up in the car park and all equipment ‘’’parkrun’’ style into an Ikea bag and into a field. But that’s all part of a learning curve when going into a new run. The weather was absolutely perfect. The conditions were absolutely perfect as well. Not too wet, not too cold, not too warm, not too slippery underfoot
I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I have. It was certainly worth the effort that everybody put in. And just again special mention to all the beginners for braving the concept of the sport, my teammates who gave up their own time and ran dogless just to help out. I’m so very, very proud. I will openly admit when one of my teammates as they got into their car, just poke their head around and say well done, I felt like my heart could burst. It’s lovely to see, all shapes and sizes of dogs and different fitness levels of the runners come out with us. We can accommodate various levels of ability on this style of run. I really hope we see everyone again, and I can’t wait for next time.