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JAR Interview: Autumn's Canine Dash - Spotlight on Edinburgh's Canicross Event

Bass Rock is an island in the outer part of the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland. (credit: Abhishek Banik)
Bass Rock is an island in the outer part of the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland. (credit: Abhishek Banik)

In crisp, fall air of Scotland, Cani-Sports Edinburgh readies for an engaging celebration – the Canicross Race and Fun Day on November 12th at the serene Whitekirk Hill. This autumn affair brings together the canicross community for a day packed with racing, local vendor showcases, and a charity raffle supporting Therapet. Heather from Cani-Sports Edinburgh unfolds the narrative of the club's founding and gives us a sneak peek into what makes this event a special entry on the canicross calendar, fostering fellowship and four-legged fun.

Key Takeaways

  • Trailblazing the Tracks: The Cani-Sports Edinburgh Canicross Race and Fun Day offers an unparalleled race experience with a scenic new route and the spirit of communal competition, set against the backdrop of Whitekirk Hill's breathtaking vistas.

  • Health and Harmony: Emphasizing the well-being of canine athletes, the club advocates for responsible pet care before, during, and after the race, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants.

  • Celebrating Canines and Charity: In line with their community-driven ethos, Cani-Sports Edinburgh extends their support to Therapet, demonstrating the profound impact of dogs on human health and the club's dedication to giving back.

Q: Could you provide some background on Cani-Sports Edinburgh and what inspired its creation?

A: The club was started by Ali Wylie and Ali Black 11 years ago. The inspiration came from the Nordic countries where people were running with sled dogs during the summer months to keep them in peak condition. We think we were the first canicross club in Scotland. Now there are loads of clubs all around the country and there is a thriving community with a busy race calendar.

Q: The Canicross Race and Fun Day sounds like a significant event for your community. What can attendees expect, and what makes it unique compared to other canicross events?

A: We have baked dog biscuits as medals. This year it’s in a new location people haven’t raced at before with spectacular views over Bass Rock and Berwick Law.

Q: Safety seems to be a key concern for you. Could you elaborate on your health and safety measures, especially for new racers unfamiliar with canicross?

A: There is a race briefing where we’ll go over any hazards. Any particular part of the course we think could be challenging (i.e., where more likely to trip), we have a marshal stationed to warn people on approach.

Q: How do you ensure that both beginners and seasoned racers have a fulfilling experience at your event?

A: At the awards ceremony one of the awards we love is “best newcomer” to the club. And a lot of members whose dogs are too old to run come and marshal, so you get to see faces old and new!

Q: Are there any charitable initiatives or causes that Cani-Sports Edinburgh supports or plans to support in the future?

A: Yes! This year at our event our chosen charity is Therapet. We will be running a charity raffle to raise funds for them. Therapet have a number of animals on their books that are able to attend hospitals and care homes to let patients and residents get close to a dog or cat. The therapeutic benefits are incredible.

Q: For those who are interested in joining the Cani-Sports Edinburgh community, how can they get involved and what can they expect in terms of support and camaraderie?

A: Anyone wanting to join Cani-Sports Edinburgh the best thing to do is to join our public Facebook page (where we post all of our runs) and also the private Facebook group where people share photos and ask questions. After that the best thing to do is just to come along to a run! Let us know you’re coming so we can look out for a new face and get you fitted for kit if you’d like to borrow some, but it’s really simple. You just need to turn up with you and your dog, and all fitness levels are welcome!

Q: And lastly, for individuals inspired by Cani-Sports Edinburgh and wishing to establish a similar canicross club in their own communities, what advice or recommendations would you offer to ensure success and a positive environment for both dogs and participants?

A: Cani-Sports Edinburgh has helped a lot of dogs come out of their shell and we’ve had many reactive dogs become more comfortable around other dogs. It’s just brilliant to see. Anyone looking to set up a similar canicross club wherever they are can do it! You just need the enthusiasm.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Just Add Rover. While we strive to present accurate and reliable information, Just Add Rover does not endorse, approve, or certify such information, nor does it guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, timeliness, or correct sequencing of such information.

© 2023 Just Add Rover. All rights reserved. This interview has been conducted for and is protected by copyright law. Reproduction of the interview, in whole or in part, is prohibited without prior written consent from Just Add Rover.

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