THERE is nothing more exciting in sport than the chance to represent your country at a major international event.
In the world of Canicross, a rapidly-growing sport where you run fast cross-country races with the aid of your dog, a team of 45 Scots are intending to do just that and are heading to the Canix World Championships which take place over the weekend of October 12 and 13 in Pembrey Country Park, Llanelli, South Wales.
The Scottish team consists of 25 female, 11 male and nine junior athletes, and more than 50 canine athletes– who will run 404 kilometers between them on sandy trails at breakneck speeds.
Classes consist of Canicross 1 dog, Canicross 2 dog, Bikejor and Scooter.
Resplendent in their custom-designed and unique Scotland shirts, sponsored by local Scottish companies, the team members are guaranteed to make their mark in Wales with the biggest team entered and, if the reputation of the tartan army is anything to go by, they will be the noisiest!
The members have been training hard individually and have also had three group training sessions in Strathclyde Country Park, Callendar Park and Vogrie Country.
Team manager Karen Connal, from Lenzie, has great hopes of bringing medals home to Scotland from this event.
She said: “A lot of us are going for the pleasure of running with our dogs and for the atmosphere of the big event, but we also have really good chances of medals in most age groups, especially from the oldest and the youngest team members.”
East Dunbartonshire has its own Canicross training group meeting regularly on Tuesdays in Lenzie and some Thursdays in Bishopbriggs.
Seven members of this local group are in the Scotland team, including four pupils from Lenzie Academy. The group are traing hard with speed sessions round Lenzie Moss and longer runs along Christine’s Way.
The Connal family – Fraser, Scott and Karen – Abbie Reid, Caitlin Rigby, Amanda Lang, Catriona MacDougal, John Lang and their eight dogs Finn, Tiree, Jura, Misty, Pixie, Baure, Romea and Alfie are excited to be part of the Scotland team.
Karen said: “It’s great to get the chance to represent Scotland and to wear the Scotland shirt. We all started Canicross for fun and fitness. Going to Wales will be the biggest thing we have done, but win or lose we still take the best dogs home with us.”
Interested in finding out more about Canicross? Visit http://canisportsscotland.com or http://canix.co.uk for more information.
You can also find East Dunbartonshire Canicross group on Facebook.
Team Scotland is sponsored by: Reids Garage, Kirkintilloch; Just Dog Shop, Edinburgh; Maccass & Co Accounting Services, Cumbernauld; and Glenbrae Vets, Bearsden.
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