Suz West Reports: I noticed Dirtrun had introduced canine cross into their Winter Warrior Series. I had planned on doing dirtrun across winter as now due to work commitments I can’t make the cross-country events hosted on Saturdays. I had planned to do this several months ago – little did I know I would stand at the start line 4 weeks after major jaw surgery. The Doctor seemed surprised I was running at all at my check up on Wednesday, he said I was hardcore! Some would say I’m a bit silly to even attempt to do a race that I could possibly fall over and land me back in Hospital. Just to add to the fun I harness up Poppy, my cockapoo, then harnesses up me – an unfit runner. Put a bungee between us and what do you have? Two over enthusiastic participants in Dirtruns Brockhampton Canine cross race.
The main 10k started before us. At first there seemed to be me and Poppy and another guy with a Collie. It soon become apparent that we were the over enthusiastic novices at this sport! Suddenly there was an array of dogs strapped to their owners, Big dogs! We were the smallest there. So, we were to follow the yellow signs. Poppy didn’t listen to any of the important instructions at the beginning. She thought this pack was great fun and stood there barking until we were told to go. I decided we should start at the back of the pack. Realising we would no doubt be last as the Husky, labs and big collie crosses shot off with their fully fit owners!
So 500m in we were wading through mud walking alone just me and my best friend. I thought maybe this would be it just us for 10k. We managed to get going again and caught up with the back runners of the 10k. This helped us to get going. So, we went passed a few runners, someone said hi Suz to me. I have no clue who he was, but I just said Hi back and we carried on. The terrain kept changing muddy, heavy mud, trail path, tarmac path downhill uphill! We had reached around 5k by this point Poppy had decided marshals were in fact put there for her to say hello too. In the distance I noticed the guy with the Collie. I couldn’t help it, obviously I told Poppy we need to catch him we must catch the collie!!
We were doing so well too, then Poppy suddenly stopped for a wee. Then I suddenly stopped as we were faced with a large downhill section. I can’t run downhill well at the best of times. Now there’s a downhill, I’m attached to a cockapoo who’s determined to pull me down it and I have a jaw that’s not allowed to be injured. I shuffled down the hill just hoping I didn’t fall over. Yes, we made it, but that Collie I had gone. Can we catch that collie back up? The ground levelled out and we went through a woody section before going back up through woods. I thought this was brilliant. I really did think to myself I’m loving this. Poppy by the way seemed to love dragging me down hills, quite good on the flat and maybe we should both work on up hills. We got to 8k Mr Collie was a long time gone now. Then the 9k marker was upon us. Suddenly, we noticed Pete, who had come to support. Poppy though wanted him to come and run with us. She refused to move unless Pete came too. So, the last 800m, Pete ran on the road parallel to the field so she could finish. It was quite funny really. Although I’m not sure this was helpful to an injured Pete.
That was it we had finished officially in last place in the canine cross race. Were we bothered? No of course not Poppy’s a cockapoo so I don’t think she will really care as long as she enjoyed herself. Me I’m just happy I can run at all right now. Sometimes its best just to relax enjoy it and be thankful for what it is we can do. I’ve had Poppy since July, so we are still getting the hang of things. I’ve always wanted a dog I can run with and this race probably will go down as one of my favourite I’ve done!