Red and I ran in our second canicross race on Saturday. My husband Derry also joined us with our staffy Sidney (their first ever race) along with our friend Paul and his running buddy Hank!
We did the Wildman 15km which is part of the Human Race Off-Road series http://humanrace.co.uk/events/off-road. It’s a popular one with canicrossers. That and the Brutal series. Unfortunately there was a Brutal race on the same day so many runners were divided over which to do. It was no contest for me, after hearing that Brutal includes a 100m wade/swim section! There were about 30 of us running Wildman with our happy hounds.
The Wildman course itself is mostly trail, so comfortable terrain. It it set on the army testing ground at Ash Vale. The 15km consists of two separate (but not the same) loops, a 10km section (which takes you back to the start/finish area), and then a hillier 5km section.
Lucky for us, it was a dry, albeit very cold, day but it meant that underfoot it was dry (apart from a stream we had to run through) and because there were clear blue skies we also warmed up pretty fast.
It was a fairly busy start as there was a duathlon, 10km run and 15km run taking place (around 600 competitors in total). So it was a good atmosphere and there were a number of spectators at the start/finish area.
We set off 2 mins after the core runners and I’d like to say we paced it perfectly but when you have an over eager dog at the end of a line and you’re caught up in the general melee (which included a few barking dogs) at the start of a race it’s anything but that. In fact, Red dictated the pace for the first ‘arms wailing’ part of the race!
One of the event photographers took this great shot at the start which I spotted on the Human Race Events twitter feed and you can see Red in full ‘lurching’ action. lol!
As with most races there was a bit of congestion near the beginning. There was a narrow path which caused a bit of a bottleneck especially as we were trying to get past some of the slower runners. I think that it would have been better to get canicrossers to start more than 2 mins after the main runners then this could have been avoided.
Once we got past this section, however, the paths were fairly wide. In fact, for many parts of the race the three of us were able to run together which made it more fun.
Ok, I admit there were a few hills but apart from one or two steep sections, most were either short or not too big an incline.
I only have a few criticisms of the race. Firstly, that there was only one drink stop, at the 10km point. It would have been nice to have one earlier, more for the dogs than the people. Another criticism is that there weren’t any mile/km markers or many marshals. I’ve run a lot of races over the past few years and it’s very unusual not to have distance markers. Lastly, the t-shirts we were all given were cotton. Why not give us technical t-shirts? At £27 entry per person I’m sure it would have been possible and surely runners are more likely to wear them again so it’s good advertising for the events company.
Aside from that, we did enjoy the race and the atmosphere. And the people that did help out on the day were really friendly and willing to help where possible; from the guy managing the car park to the lovely lady helping out on refreshments at the finish area who gave my dogs some treats.
The dogs loved it. Red, Sid & Hank all ran beautifully. And Hank’s Mum, the very talented Tanja, took some fab pictures of the day, which you can see below (click on image to enlarge)…
Overall, I would give the race 7.5/10 and I would definitely do the race again. In fact, we’re thinking of entering the next one in the series which is in a few weeks time. This one is called MudMan and takes place at the MOD grounds in Camberley, Surrey.