Neil Featherby: Why you should consider taking up canicross

After my fairly in-depth columns during the last month, I’ve decided to write about some of the lighter aspects of running, particularly when it comes to the many fun events which have become so popular during the last few years.
Up until the recent boom in running, other than that of track, road, cross country and of course fell running in the north of England, races of a diverse nature were few and far between.


However, there are now races every weekend of the year whereby it entails people taking part in events which range from extreme courses to that of being chased by Zombies.

For the athletics purist I am sure they can only manage a wry smile whilst also raising an eyebrow when it comes to such events, but for those who have taken up running with no specific background in the sport, they all seem to enjoy and look forward to taking on the challenge of these runs.

One particular running event which has become very popular is canicross running i.e. racing with your dog attached to you.


In Europe there has been huge participation in this sport for many years, but it has only been during more recent times that people have become aware of this activity here in the UK.

I have been running with my five dogs for many years, but having become friends with dog experts Sindy and Shafi Ratani three years ago, they introduced me to this form of running and even made special belts and harnesses for us.

Being able to run with the dogs attached to your waist whilst having your hands free really was a new experience!

The dogs absolutely love it and despite one or two minor incidents such as when they have decided to pick the pace up to close on four-minute miles and running the opposite side of a tree to me, we haven’t looked back since. We have even set up our own club to put on events.


These events are for all standards and for all dogs who like to run. It really is a fantastic way to exercise for both owner and canine particularly when running round beautiful woodland and forest tracks at this time of year.

With a few twists and turns over distances of between three and four miles I think it is fair to say a good time is had by all by the looks on the faces of both dog and runner as they cross the finish line.

Our next run will be at Horsford Woods on Sunday, November 5 for an 8am start.

For anyone who may be interested in finding out more, then please feel free to contact me at Sportlink on 01603 868606 or email