Trio are delighted to represent Team GB with their faithful friends!

Karen Connal and Jura
Karen Connal and Jura

A FAMILY of Lenzie athletes are delighted to be part of Team GB . . . thanks to a little help from their four-legged friends.

Fraser, Scott and Karen Connal all take part in a sport called Canicross – or Canix – which is basically cross-country running with a dog.

Fresh from a team training camp in Pembrey, South Wales, the family hope to live up to the example set by the GB Olympians and bring home a medal from the Canicross European Championships at Cirencester on October 13 and 14 – part of the Canimax Dog Olympics.

Karen – Fraser and Scott’s mum – said: “It’s not quite as easy as it sounds as you wear a waist belt and the dog is on a bungee line in harness out in front.”

Scott and his border collie Tiree will race in the 11-14 age group over a 2.3k course on the first day and a 3.5k race with a mass start on the Sunday.

Fraser and Finn, a rescue dog from Ireland, will race other 15-18-year-olds over 3.5k then 5.4k and will also take part in the relay event.

Karen’s age group is 40-49 and she runs with Jura, a five-year-old border collie who first got the family into Canicross running.

The boys have already had success in Canix races throughout the country with top three placings at all events entered, while Scott has won a gold medal at Crufts two years in a row.

Karen said: “Fingers crossed for similar success at Cirencester, but with youngsters from as far afield as Russia, Poland and Belgium attending the event with custom-bred Eurohounds, a type of dog bred for racing, it is going to be tough for the Lenzie boys with their pet border collies to get podium positions.”

Dad, Barry, is not left out as he is team transport and catering manager, and destined to play a vital part marshalling at the championships.

* Running with dogs is seen as a great way to get owner and dog fit.

There are local training groups at Mugdock and Pollock parks and if enough interest is shown Karen is keen to start a group in the Kirkintilloch/Lenzie area.

For more information visit www.canisportsscotland.com or e-mail canisportsscotland@hotmail.co.uk

* Have you got a comment? E-mail kirkyherald@jnscotland.co.uk

Alternatively you can call the newsdesk 0141 775 0040, find us on Facebook or visit us on Twitter

Or you can log in below and have you say on the site. Please note comments may be reprinted in the newspaper.