Running with a rescue dog at Parkrun – working with the RSPCA

Posted by Ginetta George, 27th November 2016

Recently we drove over to the Basildon parkrun to join RSPCA Inspector Marie Hammerton, and rescue dog Diesel, to introduce them to the benefits of running handsfree using canicross kit.

A picture of a woman running with a rescue dog at ParkrunMarie has been doing an amazing job taking rescue dogs along to the local parkrun. By running with them there, she has helped rehome over 20 dogs and we found out about her good work after seeing some information online.

Running with just a lead and collar is not the most comfortable thing for either the runner or the dog, so we took along our canicross equipment to show how much easier it is giving you better balance, control and hands-free running.

Marie arrived with Diesel, a lovely dog who had literally just arrived at the kennels the night before. He was full of energy and raring to go, despite the heavy rain!
A picture of Canicrossers participating in a Parkrun

We ran through the kit with Marie and fitted Diesel with the correct size harness and started slowly at the back of the group. After the initial excitement at the start, Diesel settled into his stride and was a natural. We ran either side with our dogs and they all ran along happily together.

Here’s what Marie had to say about trying Canicross for the first time:

As part of our help with rescue dogs, we left Marie, with a Canicross kit and a selection of different harnesses, so that she can continue her amazing work.

It’s brilliant that most parkrun venues allow dogs to take part with their owners. They have a few rules in place but welcome dogs if you follow their guidelines:

  • Only one dog per runner
  • Dogs must be on a short line (1.2m)

We’ve also written our own guidelines on running with your dog at a parkrun with helpful tips so you know what to expect. You can read it here.


Please note since writing this blog post in 2016, Parkrun brought in a ruling that you cannot take part with a dog wearing a Canicross (human) belt, and you can only run with a handheld lead. This is something we would not recommend and sadly no longer take park in Parkrun.

2 responses to “Running with a rescue dog at Parkrun – working with the RSPCA

  1. Ali Migliorini-Stubbs says:

    Hello – could anyone please tell me how to get involved in canicross and “borrowing” a rescue dog, sadly my 12yr old spaniel cannot run with me anymore, I am a long distance runner and would love to have a dog running with me again. This looks a wonderful way of helping a rescue dog out as well. Thanks everso, really look forward to hearing from you. Bestest Ali

    1. Gail Walker says:

      Hi Ali, Running (or walking) with rescue dogs is the most rewarding thing we have done. If you still want to get involved then I would suggest you contact one of your local centres. They tend to run their charities on volunteers and donations alone so really need the help. Start by contacting them & explaining how you could help the younger, more active dogs by taking them out for a run. If they need any convincing feel free to direct them to me at & I will happily share all the work we’ve been doing & the amazing, positive feedback from the rescue centre we’ve been supporting. Best of luck, it really is a wonderful thing to do as most of these dogs don’t get out every day.

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