It’s common knowledge that dogs make great training partners for runners. More and more people are choosing to not just train with their dog, but to race with them too. Canicross, a sport that originated in Europe, is an evolution of traditional sled dog activities. More than just a run with your dog, it is a team activity leveraging the dog’s power, strength & speed to help propel a human runner forward... and it can be fast, canicross teams frequently hit speeds of 20-25 km/hr (though most of us mere mortals travel at a more reasonable pace).
To practice canicross you need 3 essential things. (1) The first is a harness for your dog, specifically a sled dog harness designed for running and pulling. (2) Next you need a canicross belt - it wears similar to a climbing harness, but the canicross belt is designed to allow ergonomic hands free running and lumbar support for the human. (3) Finally you need a bungee line to absorb shock and connect you to your dog.
Over the last few years canicross has been gaining popularity in Nova Scotia. In Halifax the human and canine athletes of Club DogRunnin meet weekly to train together. The staff of DogRunnin offer instructional courses across the maritimes (programs are offered in around Halifax and in Truro, Moncton, and Saint John. Register is availble via Race Roster, seach "DogRunnin + Canicross"), these classes teach your and your dog the commands & techniques you need for safe and fun recreational and competitive canicross.
2017 is an exciting year for canicross in our region. This year Nova Scotia will offer the first canicross race series in Atlantic Canada. There are currently 4 events participating with the potential of additional events joining the series. If you have a dog friendly event that you think might qualify as canicross, contact us for more information on series criteria. Want a Canicross clinic for your run club or want to start a canicross club in your community? DogRunnin will happily help you get started!