Once you and your dog are used to canicrossing, we would encourage you to enter a race.
As well as events that are for canicross only, you will find a number of events accept canicross entries alongside the other runners.
Races aren't necessarily there for you to run as quickly as you can, although it is a good opportunity to push yourself, many people enter races simply for the atmosphere and experience of running with a large number of like-minded individuals.
They are there for you and your dog to enjoy.
Here are our 5 tips for entering and competing in races.
01/ Finding a race
The canicross race season is usually Sept - May when the temperatures are cooler and less humid. Dogs struggle to control their body temperature in warm weather so can overheat very quickly.
You can race with a multitude of breeds, just be sure to check the events race rules for eligibility.
02 / Cutting through the jargon
There are lots of different types of canisport events to enter which sometimes makes entering them a bit of a minefield. You’ll find some events are just for canicross whereas others have a multiple of canisports including canicross, canibike, caniscoot and rig events so we’ve broken down the jargon for you:
Dryland = events which take place on dry trails and not snow
DC = Dryland canicross
DB = Dryland bikejor or canibike
DS = Dryland scooter or caniscoot
If there is a number at the end such as DB2 this signifies it’s for more than one dog so in this example it would be canibike with a 2 dog team
DR = Dryland rig events for 4, 6 or 8 dog teams
Freight = Large hauling breeds such as malamutes
RNB = Registered Nordic Breeds. Only recognised Nordic sled dog breeds which have a Kennel Club number and paperwork can enter such as huskies
Some races will have age categories which are typically:
Y = Youth 11-13 yrs
J = Junior 14-18 yrs
V = Veteran 40+
Here are some examples of the different classes:
DCMV = Dryland canicross men veteran
DBW RNB = Dryland bike female Nordic breed
DBWJ = Dryland bikejor women junior
03/ Race start
Whichever event you choose to enter, make sure sure you arrive in plenty of time for the start of your race.
Some events will have race briefings which give competitors important information about the route and in some cases if you miss it you, you might not be allowed to start (as it nullifies their race insurance).
Arrive at the start in good time and give your dog plenty of room from the other competitors as it can be a very exciting, not to mention noisy environment!
In open events it’s a good idea to self seed and start nearer the back if you have a nervous dog to give them more confidence.
04/ Out on the trail
When you are on the trail, if you catch someone up in front of you, call clearly to let them know you are there and that you are going to overtake (for example, “coming by on your left”).
If someone catches you up and calls which side they are going to pass you, pull over slightly to the other side of the trail. If you think your dog may want to go over and say “hello”, hold your line and bring your dog into your side so the other team can pass easily.
You may come across dog walkers or other members of the public who are also using the trail, so always be courteous and call out to them to let them know you are there.
05/ Race markers
Different races have different styles of markers to direct you around the course.
Here are some examples of the common markers used:
Turns are marked in red and are placed on the side the turn is.
They are then followed by a blue confirmation marker. Blue markers also indicate straight on.
Yellow markers indicate a hazard on the trail.
NO ROW marker means No Right of Way which means when you are coming towards the finish and you can overtake at any point.
Some races use different coloured arrows to show the route so it's important to attend the race briefing so you know what type of markers you are looking for.