We had an absolutely brilliant group canicross run this morning at Eglinton park, despite rather grotty weather:
The group photo was taken before the run of course – before we got rain-soaked and mud splattered! Including me behind the camera we had ten humies (Lorraine, Jordan, Susan, Brian, Tracey & Caitlin, Morag, Lyndsay and Alice) and nine dogs (Mylo, Poppy the Pointer, Beanie, Biggles, Bundy, Poppy the Lab, Jet, Suko & Beamer)!
We’d been for several walks at Eglinton over the past couple of weeks to work out a route that would suit runners of different ability ranges, and eventually came up with 4k, 6k and near-enough 10k courses that overlapped each other so there’d be a good chance that the various groups of runners would bump into one another from time to time:
Biggles and I did the 10k (well, 9.8k) version shown above, while Susan and Beanie did the 6k. It worked out really well, because the 10k group met up with the 4k-ers at one point, and the 6k never fell far behind the 10k-ers. That’s just what we wanted – different groups doing different distances yet still feeling that we were all part of the same run.
I was very proud of my little Biggles’ performance. Ten kilometres is at the upper end of my range, but his enthusiasm and timely pulling assistance really kept me going, and I’m certain he loved every minute of it. Some of the time he got to run alongside Huskie Suko and feel like a proper big boy, at other times he got to run with his pal Bundy (who has never pulled his tail, unlike his naughty sister Beanie!) and all the while he was following in the tracks of Poppy the Pointer. We’d met Poppy and her owner Jordan at last week’s Strathclyde parkrun – they’re very capable runners and acted as the pace-setters for our little group, which was ideal because Biggles, Bundy and Suko are never that keen on taking pole position.
The Beanster also had a very good run. She’s really learned what canicross is about and takes her “job” very seriously; she stayed directly in front of Susan through the whole run, refusing to be led astray by sniffs and other doggies. What’s more, because of her agility training she was able to follow Susan’s left and right commands faultlessly at every turning point.
Amazingly the good behavior from our dynamic duo continued when we all went to the cafe for refreshments and a good chin/tail wag. Dogs are allowed inside the cafe (rare in Scotland!) and with Belgian Buns and other goodies on the table I was expecting chaos, but apart from a little woofing when other people came through the door it was remarkably peaceful. What’s more the cafe staff won’t have to worry about sweeping up our crumbs because Beanie has already done the cleanup, and very thoroughly I might add!
Some shots from the 6k route – taken on a previous day when it wasn’t quite so wet:
Plentiful fresh horse poo may be available from the large, stringy-tailed dispensers near the start of the route. Eat it or roll in it, whatever’s your pleasure!
On the way up to the standing stones. A harder climb than it first appears!
After all the hilly bits, a nice stretch of easy running
One of the more attractive bridges on the course
The ruins of Eglinton Castle in the distance
Another easy run leading to the final bridge
The start of the home “straight”, although in reality it’s kind of winding! Less than a 1k to go!