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Trail Runners pioneer New Forest races



By Cushla Lamen

 IT WAS a small but dedicated and enthusiastic turn-out at Canicross Trail Runners first event, held in the New Forest on October 28.
   It was an interesting course, well sign-posted and selected by Simon Lamen for its mud, terrain and undulation. (I hope I was not the only one with slightly tight hamstrings the next day!)
   All the canine competitors seemed to enjoy the opportunity to wade through the muddy puddles, although admittedly along some of the paths there was little choice offered.
   Pixie, one of my husky running partners, was enjoying herself so much in the water, that I thought she was in training for her 50-metre badge.
    As you would expect with canicross events, there was a wide range of breeds. We had poodles, huskies, pointers, Jack Russells and beagles, to name but a few, and they all seemed to have a great time.
   There was a wide variety of humans too, with ages ranging from 10 to 72 - and all age groups were in the prizes.
   The prize for chic , if there had been one, would have been won by Chantelle, a white standard poodle who finished looking as clean and poised as when she started.
   There were two lengths of course on offer, 2.7km and approximately 5km. There were only two takers for the shorter course and congratulations to Laurie Tews for being our junior competitor of the day. He ran with Pepper in a time of 17:40. Well done Laurie!
   Sean Cleeve was making his canicross debut and he did so in style,  winning the M1 class with Charlie, his springer-lab cross. We hope to see you both back at our next event to defend your titles.
   The winner of the F1 class was Lara Mills in a spectacular 20:51 with Blaise, a German short-haired pointer.
   The VM1 class was hotly contended, John Walsgrove was the winner with Harvey, his border collie, in a time of 18:40.  Hot on his heels was Dave Hydon with Zola, who is an amazing 11 years old and is still looking as fit as the proverbial fiddle.
   Jane Morris won the VF1 with the chic Chantelle.  Jane and Chantelle also took home the red lantern - the legendary award to the overall last finisher in sledge events. Once upon a time the lantern was awarded as a bit of a joke but today  it is regarded as a symbol of determination.
   For the slightly unhinged among the
canicross circuit there was the opportunity to run with two dogs.
   Alice Webb won the ladies' category with Lima and Cleo in 21:33. Simon Lamen won the men’s. Okay, so he was the only entrant, but credit where it’s due!  Click here for the results in detail.
   The day was a great success.  Thanks must go to the Forestry Commission for their permission to use Wilverley Inclosure, and for their support for canicross.
   Helen Chalk, Project Officer for the Forestry Commission, has been a stalwart for canicross and its ethos, and we look forward to organising further events in the New Forest.
   Congratulations to Helen for coming third in the F1 category with Poppy, her beagle.
   Special thanks go to David Giddy for driving down from the Forest of Dean with Nicky Hutchison at four in the morning  to do the timings for us.
   From little acorns great oaks may grow and


Jane Morris of Frome with Chantelle. Note the elegant braiding and absence of mud
the most important fertiliser is you. Tell your friends of your experiences and get them out to the next meeting.
   Let us know what you want from the sport and what we can provide for you. We are already planning the next runs and the level of track/mud depends on you. Keep checking the website for details of forthcoming events! 

Nicky Hutchison writes:  What a fabulous day we had in the New Forest. Simon Lamen had devised a cunning trail on forest tracks and muddy paths with plenty to interest the eager canicrosser.
   For non-natives it was a new experience diverting our dogs' attention away from the New Forest ponies, and a welcome change from sheep. It was a lively bit of forest with horse riders, dog walkers and scouts using the trails and all showing a real interest in what we strange canicrossers were up to.
   We were a small but perfectly formed group and it was so lovely to see some familiar dog and human faces again. Lara and Alice with their rangy pointers gave everyone a good run for their money as ever.
   David Hayden's Zola, the original canicross dog and marathon veteran, was also on good form even though she is now 11years old.  And of course Chantelle, the standard poodle who runs with Jane Morris, always adds a bit of glamour to the occasion.
   Jane competed despite a tummy bug, and ran the course with husband Richard and the now all-grown-up miniature poodle, Hugo.   
   It was a sociable event and the relaxed "when you are ready" start proved popular, especially with the husky people who just simply had to gooooo!  My husky Beans, who wasn't meant to be running, was straining for the start (can that dog read?). It just goes to show that our dogs enjoy canicrossing as much as we do.
   A drink and cakes party while times were announced was a friendly end to a hugely fun day. Thank you to everyone who came along to support us. We hope to see you again very soon.
   Rumour has it that Simon is now out in the forest mapping new, muddier and more challenging trails for unsuspecting dog runners!

Links: Forestry Commission and This is Hampshire
Contact Cushla and Simon  Lamen on:  07792 854771 or 07817 396150. By mail: 37 Drakes Avenue, Devizes, Wilts. By email:
Contact Nicky Hutchison on 07799 646508 or at
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