– Tell us a little about yourself …
I am a 28-year-old athlete competing in all disciplines of running from road, cross-country, track & of course Canicross.
– What are your sporting achievements till to day?
In running without the dog I have county titles across many surfaces/distances & a regional title over 5000m on the track. I also have national team medals with my club. In canicross I have three British titles for 2015, 2016 & 2017 as well as three European medals in relay & the 2016 Vulcanicross title. I am also the 2017 European and World Champion.
– Tell us a bit about your dogs …
My running dogs consist of Bolt (four-year-old weimaraner), Blake (one-year-old Greyster from Magda Didier – Belgium) & Zofie (nine-month-old European Sled Dog from Martina Stepankova – Czech Republic).
– What is your favorite place to train?
Our favourite training location is the canal path, quiet off road sections with nice terrain for us to test our speed!
– How is your regular workout?
My workouts with the dogs are often intervals on wheels (bike or scooter) or free running because to train canicross too often is not good preparation for my own running.
– What’s your best memory of a race?
My first British title with Bolt, will always remain a very special race for me, it was also the first time we ran under 14:00 for 5k together.
– Do you have any advice or other suggestions for people who want to get into this sport?
Seek out advice from those experienced me: kit to first of all ensure everything you use is safe, also attend some events to learn more about the sport.
– What sports do you practice “outside” your discipline or that you practiced before?
I also use cycling and swimming as cross training but not to compete as well as gym work for strength, conditioning and core training.
– What was your debut in the race?
July 2014, a 3km race with the organisation CaniX & a 1st place for Bolt 😉
– Why did you choose this sport?
To be able to share my love of running with my dogs.
– How do you feel when you’re “in-action” with your dogs?
– What do you think it is the greatest benefit of this sport?
Having a training partner who will never let you down!
– Do you think your dogs like this sport?
Yes, absolutely. It is never in doubt!
– How important is the “harmony” between you and your dog?
Very, without it you may as well run alone.
– What is your state of mind before a race?
A little nervous always, but also very excited.
– What are your strengths and weaknesses?
My strength is my experience as an athlete, across all areas from preparation to competition I know what to expect & will not be phased by anything. My weakness is at this stage perhaps my endurance, but this is something I will aim to build in the future as our goals change.
– What has been your greatest joy and your worst disappointments?
The greatest have, without a doubt been the British titles we have been able to take so far, my biggest disappointment was that due to circumstances beyond our control (Bolt had a serious injury in April & I missed a whole summer due to a broken bone) we couldn’t bring our best form to the biggest championships (ECF in Czech) last year.
– How often do you train?
Every day, often twice a day but not always running. For the dogs, structured training is perhaps 3-4 times per week but activity in general much higher.
– I know both are important but if you have to choose between “aptitude” and “motivation” to running race, what would you prefer in your dog?
Motivation, as with this you can improve a physical ability to do something & know you gave your best, without it you can never realise a potential.
– How did you come to this sport?
My dog ran with me as a companion to my own training until I learnt we could compete together, at first I tried a race just for fun but we were soon hooked to competing together.
– What do you need to practice your sport? I mean equipment but also attitudes, abilities, skills 😉
The kit is the easy part – Harness, Belt & Line. Beyond this there is a great deal but perhaps the most important is a caring attitude to your dog’s needs. From a physical point of view, I think the most important to allow good assistance is a strong core.
– Is it possible to practice your discipline even with small dogs?
Yes, definitely. But of course there are limitations.
– Your sport must be considered “individual” or “team” sport?
Team, without doubt.
– How long have you been practicing this sport?
Just over 2 ½ years.
– What sparked your initial interest?
The ability to share the race experience I already loved, with my dog & training partner!
– Why should people play this sport?
It is great fun & very addictive.
– Do you remember your first time “attached behind” a running dog?
Yes, my Bolt! From Day one, he was always explosive … still to this day the strongest pull I feel is from him!
– What breed are the dogs you run with?
Weimaraner, Greyster, European Sled Dog & also sometimes the dogs of friends & family – cocker spaniel, pointer/gsp & collie.
– What physical characteristics do you look for in your dogs?
Speed, Endurance & Strength.
– What mental or emotional attributes do you think is important to look for a dog that will make your sport?
A love for running, I can work with the rest 😉
– If you could create your ideal dog, what are the characteristics that you would like?
Strong but lean, allowing good speed whilst not compromising endurance. And good natured as my dogs are with the family too.