Dundee and Angus Canicross emerged from a number of chance meetings between a few of the current members at local events throughout Scotland in 2014-15. It became apparent that there was a demand for a local Canicross group and there were many people who felt that going out running on their own or with a traditional running club while leaving their four-legged friends at home just didn’t seem right. Time is precious, dogs need to be walked and they love to run so why not kill two birds with one stone and combine our fitness regime with that of our best friend?
The group started meeting weekly at a local park and we set up a Facebook Group and Page to let others know that they were welcome to come and join the fun. Attendances at our weekly runs quickly grew until there was a cacophony of barking every Thursday evening at the park (mostly from the terriers!). The increase in numbers was the motivation behind us deciding to formalise the group and constitute a club. Becoming a club allowed us to appoint a committee to set up the constitution, rules and regulations, waivers, disclaimers and to obtain relevant insurance cover. We were fortunate that Cani-Sports Edinburgh had already gone through the process of becoming a club and they provided a huge amount of help, advice and support throughout the process.
The main aims and objectives of the Club are:
- To provide a fun, friendly, supportive environment for owners and their dogs.
- To make Cani-Sports available to all newcomers by offering practical assistance and guidance.
- To encourage responsible canine care.
- To encourage and support new members.
Each of our runs has an allocated lead and tail runner so our members know they are looked after. Canicross is a true team sport and one part of the team cannot easily communicate so we have to be especially vigilant of the canine half, as they will, quite literally, run their hearts out if asked. All runs conducted by the club therefore have adequate water and are conducted on trails and over distances that the dogs are comfortable with.
All adults pay a subscription and kids under 16 get free membership. Since commencing the club in September 2016 we have managed to sign up 30 members ranging from 8 years old to, let’s say, close to 60 years old. The membership fee allows us to cover the cost of insurance and the purchase of Canicross belts, lines and, harnesses for any new members to “try before they buy”.
We also designed a team kit to get us recognised at events and the bright orange t-shirts, hoodies and buffs have certainly had the desired effect. We are not solely a club based on style though and the unmistakable orange garb can commonly be found on the podium at all manner of competitions. Most recently we started organising our own series of “timed runs” for anyone who may be put off by the word “race” and the feedback from these has been excellent. The runs are very social affairs with hot drinks, bacon rolls, cakes and a chat afterwards.
So, what is the outlook for the club? We could never have foreseen the growth we have experienced or the huge advances in Canicross in the UK so it is difficult to imagine but, to coin a familiar phrase, we believe that “the future is bright, the future is orange”.