“Just over two years ago, I was looking for something to do with my rescue dog Smurf, to give him more exercise. Smurf has an extremely high prey drive and so cannot be let off his lead. Looking online, I came across a sport which you could do with your dog called canicross and I thought it sounded like rather a fun way to help both Smurf and me keep fit safely. Shortly after reading about it, I discovered that DogFit canicross trainer, Michelle Blackmore was running a free taster session in my local park, so we went along to see what it was all about.
Everyone who knew Smurf laughed and said he would kill me! I went along with trepidation and, boy, he took to it immediately. And no, I didn’t die! I was properly hooked and soon signed up to my very first couch to 5k challenge. At first, I was a complete non-runner, but I was determined to get fitter and see the course through.
During early training, I developed shin splints, but Michelle worked with me to improve my running style and exercises to help strengthen my shins, which helped a lot. Soon, I completed a second couch to 5k and I was elated to finally be able to run 5k, pain-free. Towards the end of 2018 I entered my first race. While I had no aspirations to come first, Smurf and I had enormous fun and it was something I never thought I would actually do.
This year, Michelle encouraged me to run a 10k event and after that, we discussed Smurf and I entering a half-marathon. A lot of persuasion was needed to get me to sign up but I did, and I completed it in September. If you had told me two years ago that I would be canicrossing a half marathon, I would have laughed as I wasn’t what you might call a natural runner.Now, however, I feel fitter, slimmer and more energetic!
Even better, the change to Smurf is nothing short of amazing. He is much less reactive when out and about now and has been able to come off of his anxiety medication. He lives for canicross; whenever he knows he’s about to go out running, he gets really excited! I have to put up with lots of loud barking, howling and talking the entire way there. He hasn’t quite killed me yet, despite my nearly ending up in several ditches as he’s gone for a drink. He likes to chase swans, and going down hills is a little bit scary, but he is getting better and is starting to really look after me while we run together.
I’ve met new friends along the way too, who give me encouragement and run alongside me as I get to grips with this exciting new activity. Thank you to Michelle and everyone who has supported us in our canicross journey so far. I can’t wait to see what challenges 2020 brings!”