This inaugural race, set in the beautiful grounds of the Petworth Estate, attracted over 1,000 runners taking part in the half marathon, 10km or 5km distance. We ran the half marathon.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable event; well organised and very friendly with a lovely, relaxed atmosphere. I would definitely recommend it to canicrossers.
Parking was on the fields in the main grounds and only about 100 metres from the registration/start area, so very straightforward. All the canicrossers parked together which made for a more relaxed and social atmosphere before and after the race.
We had to collect our race numbers (with chip attached on the reverse) at registration. It’s worth allowing a few extra minutes to do this as we had to queue for a while for ours, although they did fast track the half marathon runners as we set off first.
The canicross starts for each distance were 5 minutes after the mass start. We were given a nice wide section to set off from with gates lining the edge so this made it much more manageable and less stressful for the dogs compared to some races I’ve competed in.
The course itself was mostly undulating with a few hills thrown in; most were fairly short but there were two or three steeper, longer climbs (I’m thinking particularly at the mile 9 mark!) which remind your legs what a workout they’re getting!
The terrain was firm underfoot; mostly consisting of wide grassy trails with some narrow woodland tracks. There was some tarmac to run on, mainly early on in the race, and gravel track, but not excessive amounts. So a good pair of trail running shoes are the best footwear for this run.
The course was exposed for large sections of the race so, despite the temperatures only hitting around 15°C (59°F), the sun was out and quite intense given the time of year, so you wouldn’t really want it much hotter for the dogs. The forest sections did provide some welcome respite from the sun and it made for a more varied and interesting course.
Luckily the organisers laid on plenty of water stations with bowls for the dogs and there was a nice lake near the end where the dogs enjoyed a welcome dip!
The route was very easy to navigate and the marshals were so friendly – it really made a difference!
The event cost me £29.50 to enter and I would say it was good value. We received a technical t-shirt and eco-friendly wooden medal. Though some better refreshments would have been welcome, both at the finish and during the half marathon course where we would normally expect either energy drink or sweets.
Overall, this was a wonderful event, a defo for next year! And it was lovely to see so many other canicrossers enjoying the day. It does take the edge off the aching limbs when these races have such a great social feel to them!
Super Sid gives this race 9 out of 10 (only because he would have liked a water trough to lie in at the end and some of the tarmac made it hard underfoot).
And Janet was super happy to take part….;)