If you go down to the woods today you’d better watch where you’re putting your feet!

Since there are so few proper Cani-X races in Scotland at the moment, we’re supplementing with Park Runs – organized, timed but free-to-join 5k runs around parks. Dogs are allowed so long as they’re on lead and well controlled, and Beanie & Biggles – despite all their faults – are actually really well behaved on a run with other people to follow.

This morning we went along to a park run in Glasgow, and against all odds got to run in sunshine. It still wasn’t exactly dry – the paths we were running on were waterlogged from the gales and monsoons of the last week – but this unexpected gift from the weather gods was certainly appreciated, and there was a good turnout – well over 200 runners.

Things started well for me and Biggles; I’ve been doing a bit more running of late and I felt pretty good as we headed off. We overtook lots of people – which Biggles loves – and we looked set to improve on our previous time, but then as we reached the half way point I felt a grumbling from down below. From my abdomen that is, not from Biggles. It started off as a polite request from the bowel department, but in the space of a minute it turned into a demand at gunpoint! When I spotted a break in the trees, I had no choice but to leave the path to go do what bears do in the woods.

In a way it wasn’t entirely unexpected; earlier last week Susan and Biggles had been hit by a tummy bug (funny how human and doggy illnesses often coincide!) and it was probably only a matter of time before it claimed me as another victim. It was pretty embarrassing though – I mean you expect to have to stop running occasionally to deal with a doggy number two, but not with one of your own! Anyway, there I am, squatting on my imaginary throne, hoping to stay hidden in the trees, when Biggles realizes that the other runners are passing him by. Being the Bigglet, his immediate response was to start baying at full volume, unwittingly doing everything he could to call attention to my misfortune! Thankfully no-one responded and we were able to return to the course without being arrested, though all hopes of getting a decent time had been dashed.

Susan & Beanie’s run didn’t go too well either; Susan’s calves cramped up early on and that severely limited her pace. Little Beanie did her best to help though, and as they approached the finish Susan managed a sprint to the line alongside another runner and her dog:



So it may not have been our best park run ever, and it was memorable to me for all the wrong reasons, but at least one half of our team got to finish in style!

Ayrshire Cancer Support 6K

Beanie and Biggles notched up their first 6K road race on Saturday. The race is a regular event in Ayr, and is held to raise money for Ayrshire Cancer Support.

The turnout was quite small compared to the 5Ks we’ve run in Glasgow, which surprised me a little. After all, the weather was perfect – bright and sunny but still quite cool, and the course is flat and linear: starting at the Amphitheatre, you run left along the promenade up to the Doon Estuary Bridge, then return.  The views along the sea front are spectacular, some of the runners wear entertaining costumes, and all the proceeds from entry fees and sponsorship go to fight cancer. What more could you want from a road race?

Biggles’ answer to that question might well be “candy floss”. There was a sizable chunk of the stuff lying on the pavement about halfway along the promenade and fortunately or unfortunately – depending on how many legs you have – I saw it first and denied Biggles his chance to grab it. As often happens, what Biggles misses, Beanie gets; that candy floss was half way down Beanie’s throat before Susan could react. Biggles still got the satisfaction of being the first dog to finish though, despite having me in tow!

We met up by the Amphitheatre after the race and broke open the water from our goody bags. One of the first aiders spotted Beanie & Biggles drinking from our hands and kindly brought over a sick bowl. Sadly for our two Beagles the bowl didn’t come with any vomit in it (they’re both very partial to a bit of pavement pizza) but it did make it easier for them to get a good drink.

Here are a few moments from the race..

There’s another road race coming up in Ayr on 21st November – the Ayrshire Santa Dash. The entry fee gets you a Santa suit which you’re encouraged to wear during the race. It should be quite something to see a load of Santas jogging along Ayr’s promenade. I’ve got a feeling there’ll be a couple of small, four legged Santas among them!

Glasgow Big Fun Run 2010

The Big Fun Run is one of the growing number of short (5K) races that allow dogs to run alongside their owners. Beanie took part in the first one in Bellahouston Park in 2008 running for Beagle Welfare, but today she and Biggles were just in it for fun. We’d missed last year’s race, and we were impressed at how the event had grown in the interim: more runners, more entertainment, and more costumes!




Real Radio is one of the high profile partners for the race, and their mascot is a Basset called Barry. As luck would have it he turned up to cheer all the runners on, but he was considerably larger in the flesh than he appears in the station’s adverts, and he spent a suspiciously long time walking on two legs. As Beanie & Biggles were the only Beagles in this year’s race I figured that their fellow hound might come over for a chat, and sure enough he did. I don’t think his approach complied with accepted pack protocol however, because he immediately found himself on the receiving end of a severe, and I mean severe, woofing. His reaction showed no remorse whatsoever – he didn’t seem to take the woofing seriously at all, but that’s Bassets for you!

Ten minutes before the race was due to start an official warmup was held featuring a fitness instructor and a couple of Glasgow’s premier cheerleaders . Generally speaking we’re not much into organized warmups, but Beanie seemed willing to give it a go.


The start of the race was very noisy, but Beanie & Biggles weren’t phased by it and got off to a good start. As usual I was partnered by the Bigglet while Beanie was Susan’s running partner. A lot of runners fell to walking pace by the end of the first kilometer so we had a lot of overtaking to do. In previous road races this was hard work because I had to guide Biggles through all the gaps, but today he knew exactly what to do and expertly weaved his way past all the walkers with hardly any direction from me. The course had a lot of twists and turns but he took every corner correctly and without guidance. When a couple of uncontrolled mutts strayed onto the course and ran up to him, he stayed resolutely focused on his task and ran straight past them without even a backward glance. I’ve said that Biggles is a great jogging companion before, but today his performance was truly flawless. I really felt we were running as a team, and we set a good pace for the first 3km or so.

As we entered the closing stages of the race, I started flagging quite badly. It was a typical Glasgow “summer” day – overcast, unpleasantly warm and very humid (though not actually raining , so I guess not truly “typical”) and I just didn’t seem to have any energy left. Fortunately Biggles’ enthusiasm didn’t falter once and I kept trudging on so as not to let my boy down. When we crossed the finish line he rightly got a lot of attention from the master of ceremonies and the crowd. I’m not sure, but I think he was the first dog to finish! Beanie also ran a great race, sometimes running ahead of Susan to encourage her onward, and sometimes jogging smartly to heel in the hope of getting another piece of kibble.

Here’s a bit of video from the day.You’ll see the aforementioned severe woofing directed at Barry the Basset, the exciting start of the race, Susan & Beanie’s finish, and the post-race refreshment and goody-bag rummage.

Despite a thorough inspection by Beagle Customs the goody bags were found to be completely devoid of any edibles. Our two did get rather nice medals for completing the race though!



Afterwards we headed to Pets At Home in Renfrew and treated them both to posh new collars. This wasn’t purely an indulgence; yesterday Biggles somehow broke part of the metal buckle on his collar, and earlier in the week he managed to chomp through a couple of leads. Nothing seems to last long with Beagles!