SSo after 30 hours travelling through multiple countries in the most uncomfortable transit van in sub-zero temps we arrived in Italy .
5 blokes 5 Dogs, 4 Staffords and a Stafford cross Lurcher made the frankly madness trip to Brescia, Italy to compete and Show in the sporting Dogs Club Italia penultimate show of the year - The Event 2017.
2 of us made the pathfinder trip 2 years before and had just the best time when the club was in its infancy and wow had they learned a lot since then!!!!
We saw some fantastic examples of Staffords and pit bulls in great condition, the backdrop of the venue was just sublime and the competition was as expected fierce.
Saturday was all sport and Sunday was the showing.
The disciplines were slatmill race, high jump, hang time and vertical wall.
The travelling had affected the dogs but they all tried their best and I was happy with Bailey but I knew she could’ve done better overall.
Sunday we all showed, Bailey was in the veteran, under 45cm, and best in condition classes which were multi breed and some great examples of bull breeds; all had put some serious time into their Dogs.
The bling Bailey came home with was 3rd in vertical scale under 45cm beate,n by 2 young pitbulls who will do very well in the future.
2nd in under 45cm veteran bitches and Best Conditioned dog in Show (this was a big deal for me as it was the biggest class of the day by far).
The Italian club and its members were fantastic as usual looked after us very well I look forward to seeing them again soon.
Our member Helene decided to take on the Paras 10 and below is her account - huge huge kudos to you Helene!!
Paras 10 I've wanted to do the Paras10 Endurance race for a couple of years but a mix of poor organisation and lack of confidence stopped me doing so.
Anyway this year I thought no excuse. I emailed the organisers to ask if more than one dog could run as I would have liked to do it with my 3 Springers. But they advised only one due to the terrain or possibly 2 at a push. That made an easy decision as I didn't want to leave one of the Springer siblings out so chose to run with just one dog and it had to be my lead dog Rowan.
I knew with the words paras and endurance in the title it was going to be a challenge so we did as much training as we could on hills which is hard living in Manchester but thank goodness for the National Trust estates we frequent!
So on the 3rd September Rowan and I headed off to Catterick, as expected for a military event it was extremely well organised from the minute we arrived for parking. Rowan proved a hit with the Paras and lapped up the attention. They asked all the canicrossers to start at the front which was great as this is often an issue with mixed races as the dogs start fast and starting from the back is difficult. Rowan was raring to go and at the sound of the start we were off ahead of the pack Rowan pulling at his usual incredible speed.
For the first mile we were in 3rd place overall but there was no way I could keep that pace and then we arrived at the first cattle grid of approximately 30 where we had to slow down and although he was able to tiptoe over them I could see it was risky and so elected to carry him over any others.
The course was amazing, it varied between mostly wide open spaces with lots of hills and great views and lots of sheep, one part there had old tanks there which made a fascinating change of scenery, and there was also a lovely woodland section to run through. The hills varied from gradual ascents to steeper sections and obviously lots of downhill sections too which for me is always the most tricky part. Rowan is a wonderful dog for canicross his directions are superb and his ability to navigate a course with little input from me is wonderful but steady on the downhill is not his forte! I usually have to rely on his sisters adhering to "steady" to safely descend but the boy proved that he does know steady and this was proved time and again and nowhere more so than the steepest descent we've ever done. As we got past the 8 mile marker I saw a really steep hill ahead of us, what I didn't see til I turned the corner was the steep cliff like hill of equal height we needed to descend first. It was practically vertical in places and just rock to clamber over and my heart was in my mouth as I kept saying steady as one pull on the rope and I would have fallen face first many metres! Not once did he pull, absolutely steady the whole way down a complete star! We had level ground for about 1metre and then the steepest hill to climb. My muscles were not just burning they were completely on fire, Rowan pulled great and kept up the momentum but by the top my screaming legs could barely run but off we went at Rowan's speed.
Next up was 3 water crossings which were great fun as we splashed through them, cooling for both of us and we had the last mile to go. Mostly flatish but still a few cattle grids to go with aching abs and arms I managed to carry Rowan over and finally it was the sprint to home.
Absolutely thrilled to be finished, more thrilled to be the 1st Female Canicrosser and then to get our medals from veteran paratroopers was the absolute icing on the cake.
It was a brilliant race I was delighted with my time of 1:32:32 as the cattle grids severely slowed us down, and definitely doing it again as it was so much fun. I'm also planning on the Colchester one which I am informed has no cattle grids and less hills!
Brilliant family event too with stuff for kid, food stalls and a number of stall selling Paras merchandise, and raising money for a worthy cause. Highly recommend it.
Sorry for the delay on this blog, the world is slightly busy right now!
However it’s important to rave once again about the fun we had at the last Checkendon of 2017, the now famous Halloween weekend.
The NATBs were once again out in force and team moral was at its normal level of high spirits and laughter!
Jan and David had worked their normal magic and the course was clear (with Sally and Cliffy’s help) the extra twists remained and the atmosphere relaxed.
After a shock on the Friday evening of the local fish and chip shop being shut we had all sat around chatting and eating random food, huddled together in awnings to keep warm as the late arrivals trickled in and joined in the laughter!
With Roy (Mushers Mucker) on the Start line helping we all ensured we were ready to start on time and were started with a laugh and wave.
The first day was chilly and dry after rain the few days before, but many people still made a huge effort with their costumes! The course was riding brilliantly and our Bikejor competitors were coming back in all smiles.
Cliffy was racing Vinnie this weekend and Sally had the elevator dog Stanley. Both teams put in a great performance, enjoying the fast course.
Emma was biking Oki as Hannah couldn’t attend the weekend and he, after a poor start, and a poo stop decided that he did want to run!
Lucy and one of her dream teams completed a good first run, her outfit from Tron was fab!
Gary took part in the Male Scooter class, his team being a bit dawdly (according to him) but still finishing in a reasonable time, most importantly in one piece!
Danielle was in Female Scooter, her team went off like the clappers, and finished in a similar vein, grins from ear to ear!
The canicross entrants lined up, with varying degrees of happiness! Cliffy was borrowing 2 of Gary’s dogs (so the race was on there!). Emma was running the woos; well fast walking them. Izzy was running a single team of Flo; as Sam is still injured, Helene was being powered by Springer steam, Emily was rocking the black and white team and Gary and Lucy were running a mix of their other dogs (with 13 to choose from they have to mix and match!) Emma Maunder, a new member of the club, was unable to race her dogs due to an injury so she helped Nick Stone run his team. It was so good of Nick to lend Emma some of his dogs and Emma worked really hard helping everyone as well as exercising the dogs. Welcome to the club!
We had an afternoon of fun, a group breakfast was enjoyed and then much chatting, laughing, training and general chit chat and cake ensured the afternoon hours were whiled away nicely.
An evening meal on the Saturday evening all together, hosted by Sally and Cliffy with the whole club lending a hand to cook and clear up made for a fun evening, until the fireworks started. We then had to all scatter to sit with our respective packs to ensure they were calm. Many dogs weren’t and it took a while for everyone to be able to settle that night.
Luckily we all have resilient dogs and they were up for racing again the next morning, more so than many of the humans!
The unexpected excitement of the morning came from Sally who decided to nose dive over her handle bars and face plant a root. Stanley politely stopped to wait, it wasn’t far from the finish so she crossed the line with a bloody nose scratched face and a huge grin. Apparently she was determined to not lose the time she had made up on the person in front!! Competitiveness!
Gary didn’t want to feel left out so also threw himself to the ground……he didn’t injury himself as much though so we ignored him…..!
Oki decided that he was going to put on a great turn of speed on the Sunday, finishing 2 minutes faster than the previous day – Emma was a happy lady, especially as the woos put in an even slower time than the day before, so she got her speed thrill from Oki instead!
The results were interesting (Gary being slightly annoyed that his dogs ran better for Cliffy than they do for him and Cliffy beat him!). Sally pulling time back from the day before and others putting in great performances as well.
We again had some club rosettes to hand out.
The winners this weekend were:
Sally – for her surge of competitiveness after falling off!
Helene – for an awesome effort again with her springer team
Lucy – for best costumes and effort over the weekend
As always Checkendon delivered a fabulous weekend, great friends, lots of laughter, lots of fun.
Here’s to the next one in March 2018!
Cliff Tarrant – 8th place
Emma Giles – 9th place
Sally Tarrant – 15th place
Lucy Oke – 20th place
Gary Oke – 6th place
Danielle White – 3rd place
Veteran Male Canicross
Cliff Tarrant – 7th place
Gary Oke – 11th place
Female 17-39 Canicross
Lucy Oke - 13th place
Emily Thomas – 14th place
Female Veteran Canicross
Helene Pettit - 3rd place
Izzy Powys – 10th place
Emma Giles – 14th place
On Sunday the 8th October the troops and i made our way to Cliff Lakes, Tamworth to participate in the first of the new Chrysalis K9 Canicross Series. Its a series with a difference where by the aim is to better your time with each monthly race and be the most improved runner at the end of the series.
I felt for the event organisers as a few days before the race day they learned that the venue had double booked so with a lot of re organising the event was still able to go ahead all be it at a much earlier start / finish time than had previously been planned for.
It was my first time at this venue so it was a pleasant change to be running somewhere new for both Dutchy and myself.
The course was a short 3.5k but incorporated a couple of hills and of course what goes up must come down. Living in Northamptonshire Dutchy and i don't often come across hills so there was a moment in that down hill section i honestly thought i was going to go flying flat on my face !
We completed the course in a nice time of 15:15 and received a lovely glass medal for our effort.
Admin: Well done for a fab time - the flying Dutchy is starting to enjoy this canicross lark!
Apologies for the slight delay on this write up, the Tri Dog event was well attended by the NATBs and thoroughly enjoyed.
Set in Bedford using the facilities of Box End the setting was beautiful. The NATBs entered 2 teams into the Triathlon and we also have Cliff entered into the men’s Duathlon. Julie was supposed to be joining us as well for the women duathlon but was struck down by a bug so was very sad to be unable to attend, she was truly missed.
Our teams were:
Team Dog Biscuit
Matt & Frank – Swim
Sally & Vinnie – Bike
Cliffy & Bailey – Run
Team Liver Cake
Emma & Mya – Swim
Hannah & Oki – Bike
Helene & Rowan – Run
Upon arrival we literally set up and all got an early evening ready for the following days event as we arrived at different times, some of us in the dark.
Saturday morning broke with good weather and exciting, good natured ribbing amongst the teams was the name of the game and each team was positive. We registered and were given our teams numbers, swim cap (oh dear!) and bib, timings were advised and any relevant information shared. Individual competitors were also given a race bag for transition equipment.
Our bikes and runners set off to the transition areas the swimmers lined up ready to start after the full individual Triathlon competitors had all gone.
With 6 teams in total we all wanted to podium for the kudos but the main point was to have fun as many of us had never taken part in an event like this before!
Matt started with Frank and they put in an excellent swim, catching time up on the competitor in front, shortening their 1 minute gap. He passed the “baton” (a tap on the shoulder) to Sally and she was off.
In the meantime Emma and Mya entered the water, now even with a wet suit the cold shock was unexpected, the lake was also deeper than expected which promptly set Emma off into an asthma attack. This did not go well; Mya was slightly annoyed with Emma when she needed to exit the water early incurring a time penalty. Wheezing like a poorly oiled 90 year old Emma managed to stagger to the transition area and tag Hannah; she set off like a bat out of hell and miraculously caught Sally at the run transition point just as she tagged Cliffy.
The race was on! Both runners gave their all and the finish was exciting to watch. Cliffy finished just ahead of Helene who had been foxed by the arrows for the other course and lost a few seconds almost following it.
Times for day 1 were:
Spring Loaded: 19:50
Dog Biscuit 24:53
Liver Cake 22:42 - + 5min time penalty. Total 27:42
The girls had something to prove. Emma’s guilt was huge and she decided that practise swims were required to prepare for the next day. Offers to swap positions were made BUT this became a personal demon!
Cliffy took part in the duathlon and with the rest of the NATBs cheering him on he finished in 1st place by just 9 seconds with a time of 19:47! The man is a machine, and Stanley did good!
Saturday afternoon and evening were spent eating cake, drinking tea and other stuff (!) and catching up! Matt was the resident cook for the weekend and provided some awesome food for dinner and breakfast on both days – huge thanks Matt!
Sunday morning started with Emma going for practice swims in the lake – 4 swims were managed without melt downs so feeling positive and boosted with team talks the teams moved off to their various positions ready for battle!
Seeded on Sunday the teams went off in order, knowing we couldn’t catch the scarily fast Spring Loaded we concentrated in trying to stay in 2nd and 3rd, the order to be fought over!
Matt again put in a strong swim, we decided his new nickname was Matt the Mackerel, Frank once again being the perfect swim companion staying on Matts shoulder/behind him the whole way, not putting a paw wrong.
A minute later Emma and Mya entered the water, singing away to herself and telling Mya how good she was being Emma blasted the swim and completed it with a massive grin and wiggle from Mya, managing to even run to the transition this time and tag Hannah not far behind Matt. With a tactical dog swap of Bailey to bike and Vinnie to run, Dog Biscuit were hoping for a faster time to foil Liver Cake from catching them.
Hannah and Oki stormed the bike, once again making up time and closing the gap. Again the race was on, but Rowan wasn’t feeling it for Helene. Cliffy managed to pull away from Helene and finished strongly but Rowan put on a spurt at the end and did pull some time back. With much congratulations and laughter we were all hugely proud of ourselves.
With no idea what our times were we concentrated on cheering Cliffy on, as he had to go straight back to compete in the Duathlon.
Unfortunately Stanley was in elevator music mode and basically gave Cliffy no help, until the last 50 metres, so he was beaten to the post by the other entrant, putting him in 2nd place overall.
We were all gutted for him but also incredible impressed by the fitness and effort! Stanley we need to work on your elevator music mode!
The presentation occurred promptly at 2pm starting with thanks to all those who helped organise the event and then followed by spot prizes. The NATBs were honoured when Matt won best swim (we repeat Matt the Mackerel) and Emma won one for Most Improved Swim (very touched).
The top 3 of each event were all then presented with prizes and medals, the team event results staying the same as the 1st days standings but with combined times as follows:
Spring Loaded: 2nd day time, 19:03 – Total; 38:53
Dog Biscuit: 2nd day time, 24:05 – Total; 48:58
Liver Cake: 2nd day time, 23:34 – Total; 51:16
As a final flourish we once again we had 3 NATB winner rosettes to share out to the winning team, however Sally and Cliff decided that Emma should have one for beating the fear of open water swimming, which was truly lovely.
All in all this was a well-run, fun event, one that we will certainly be returning too, hopefully with 3 teams next time as well as other individual entrants!
The NATBs were out in their normal force for the first Checkers of the season, for many this was the opener of the new year for them.
The weather set to be reasonable the team had to camp further up the hill than normal to avoid some happily fenced off sheep in the lower field. They were not an issue and caused some amusement, they were also the quietest sheep in the world, not one bleat all weekend!
Maybe that was abject fear? Who knows!
So after set up on the Friday and the normal cramming into Sally and Cliffs awning we settled reasoanble early to ensure best performances for the Saturday morning!
Saturday morning woke us all up with a clear start, slightly cold but we could tell the chance of temp increase was hovering! Sundays weather was similar, both days good for racing.
The course had been changed, making it longer and (if possible) twistier. With some new great areas added we had an extra dip to go through, tighter turns and gaps to get through, and less field to run up and down (much to some participants delight!)
The race started promptly at 8.30 both days with the bikes. In this class we had Hannah with Oki, their debut biking this course, Hannahs trepidation was matched by Okis excitment and they belted off in a blur of spinning wheels, pedals and fur!
An excellent first time attempt with a time of 16.43 the first day, all Hannah was pleased about was getting back unscathed! On the Sunday their time of 17:34 was just as good.
Emma was tackling the course with Kavik only after retiring Mya off wheels. He was surprisingly excited about going round on his own and completed the course in a respectable Mally timescale of 23:24 (not last for once!!) And Sundays time of 23:23 showed his consistency!
Cliff took to the course with Stanley, who did his best impression of an elevator dog, getting slightly distracted but still proving he can work when he wants to! Still a respectable time of 16:01. On the Sunday Cliff reverted to stealing Vinnie back off Sally who was injured so couldn't race on the Sunday, the super beagle and gained a time of 15:04 shaming Stanley into submission with those little legs!
Matt was also on a debut run with Super Frank, the gorgeous boy gave his all and for such a young dog was impressive and thoroughly enjoyed himself giving an excellent debut time of 18:31. His Sunday time of 19:08 was just as good, well done Frank! (And Matt of course!)
Gary was entered into the Scooter class, after a slightly stressful arrival the evening before he was truly delighted to manage a clean run, which boosted his mood immensely! His team put in 2 great consistent runs both days giving times of 20:38 and 20:25.
Canicross classes were also filled with NATB members.
Cliff ran on Saturday with Bailey (on loan from Matt) and the wonder beagle Gizmo, who decided he was going to run behind Cliff the whole race! Saturdays time was 23:42. On Sunday the team switched out Gizmo and replaced him with Stanley, who ran much better with Bailey, knocking the 3 minutes of their time on Saturday to 20:19
Gary also stepped up to the mark, enjoying a good run round to complete the course in 28:09 and 28:24, both great times for a fellow "non runner"! (we shared our pain stories!)
Helene and her super spaniels were their normal amazing team and on both days put in superb runs, Helenes times of 22:45 and 22:35 just show how far this team are coming.
Julie ran with the gorgeous Dutchy, who is by the looks of things starting to get the hang of this running in front lark, he always looks very disapproving but i truly believe he is secretly enjoying himself inside! Another consistent performance with times of 24:25 and 24:03.
Emily ran her fab team of black and whites both days, enjoying the course and the team connection she has with her lovely pack. Good times were gained on both days, 28:21 and 29:51 respectively.
Izzy was slightly concerned about her race days because her "engine" was unable to run due to pulling a muscle. Poor Sam had to be rested so all her hopes lay with Flo, who is known for lots of fluff and puddle diving! However, Flo decided to surprise and delight Izzy and us all by pulling and making a supreme effort not to dive in puddles! Times of 27:58 and 28:50 reflected her efforts!
Finally Emma ran her beloved Mya, now retired from wheels Mya decided to go at her normal, no pull, easy hippy pace, she knows Emma will let her get away with it! Only running her on the Saturday, with a time of 34:42 she was rested on Sunday. Emma was lent the gorgeous Tia from the Oke pack to run with on the Sunday. She decided that running without her mum Lucy was not really acceptable. She was also slightly confused by the loud male voices echoing around her in the woos so Tia and Emma plodded around in a reasonable 34:01.
The afternoons were spent whiling away the time chatting, puppy playing and swapping funny stories as normal! 4 members have new fur members, Julie has the delightful Stafford pup Rowan, she is adorable of course.
Cliff and Sally have Riley the fox hound, who is already so tall the other puppies ran underneath him!
Emma and Roy have the ginger guinea pig Kelpie pup Hera.
Emily has her squishy boy Yogi, who is battling Riley for who can be the tallest!
All the pups were very well behaved and are showing a keen interest in all the proceedings!
Matt was the club chef for the weekend, we decided cooking and eating together was the way forward, so group meals and laughs ensued. Huge thanks to Matt for his excellent cooking, Sally & Cliffy for their awning facilities, and Emma & Roy for their oven and washing up skills!
The club moral and atmosphere was great, with new racing jerseys we stood out and Roy was again a massive help to Jan and David helping at the start and marshaling.
As is becoming customary we also like to award our own rosettes for our team members, ensuring some club fun!
This weekend we had had some Personal Best rosettes, we decided that being as all of us had run the new course for the first time, we all deserved a PB rosette! Many smiles were enjoyed with this surprise!
We then awarded the Top Dog award to none other than Izzy and Flo - Flo really stepped up to the mark without her trusty companion Sam at her side. Flo has battled through many demons and overcome so many fears, she did Izzy and the club proud.
Finally we had a Best Effort rosette - we gave this one to Hannah and Oki, the fear Hannah overcame biking the course for the first time with a very fast and excited dog was amazing, truly well deserved.
All in all a successful event with laughs, fun and some good debuts! Here's to a great season all!
Cliff - 10th place
Matt - 17th place
Hannah - 8th place
Emma - 14th place
Gary - 10th place
Mens Canicross (Veteran)
Cliff - 6th place
Gary - 13th place
Emily - 11th place
Helen - 2nd place
Julie - 7th place
Izzy - 13th place
Emma - 17th place
The NATBs like to attend as many events as possible, but we all know we have to pick and chose. To help everyone in the sport with these decisions we have got together lists of events and developed our own calendar.
This can be accessed via our website: http://www.natbdogsports.com/events.html
If you know of any we have missed please let us know! We are more than happy to add any event to ensure everyone knows about them and can make informed decisions on which ones to attend throughout the season. There are so many to chose from now!
The colder weather is heading our way, the nights are drawing in again and the mornings have a wonderful chill...cant wait for them to be regular!
Hope everyone has a wonderful season - enjoy!
Some of you know that Sammy's Summer job is show jumping for dogs or Agility, as with Canicross AKA Dogging.
So friends and work mates can in public loudly say 'Are you dogging this weekend?' Some jokes you never get tired of. (Admin: So true!!)
Talking of Jokes, Sam’s Agility career is full of them. He thinks it is hilarious to run around barking, jumping whatever he likes. Or demonstrating how well he can fly, despite his lack of wings.
In 'Agility' obstacles namely A'frame, sea saw, and dog walk, require your dog to place a paw or a claw in the coloured part at the bottom (and on the up), of these obstacles otherwise you are given 5 faults for each one missed.
So for Sam, a big boy with delusions of Condor, it seems an impossible task…… Not in training however, in training he is a dream. 99% spot on. At a show 99% spot off!
So who knew after 9 years of pissing about, not only would he would jump everything in the correct order he would also fold up imaginary wings and plant a paw in the danger zone that is the 'contact'. To my very great shock he got second place. (Admin: we’re not as we knew he would do it one day!) Beaten by a much younger dog.
That was at TAG show two weeks ago.
This weekend he only went and did it again and got third place. We managed this despite my forgetting to change into my running shoes and clodhopped round in my wellies at a very wet Caerphilly Show.
Not bad for a veteran. Good boy Sam. I'm sure normal madness will return.
Admin: As always Izzy you lighten our days J
The wonderful Helene and her team of spaniels took part in an event last weekend:
I represented the NATBs in Wales this weekend. We competed on Sat in the Dysynni Trail 10k fab event, definitely worth bearing in mind for next year. Thoroughly enjoyable - mud, wind and rain what more could springer spaniels want.
I came second in the mixed category canicross and first female over all, thanks to my awesome duo of Rowan and Evie.
Seren ran with my friend Suzy who got second female.
So proud of my gang. Thanks to the fab support crew of Toffee, Maz and Pads abley assisted by Rita Benson, and Seren's lovely family Cheryl Davies, Charlotte Davies and Joan Carter and not to forget little Livvy Harrison who kept us entertained.
A lovely walk on Sunday on the beach for Toffee 's birthday which she was treated royally!
The dogs didn't want to pose for picture with their medals!
Fabulous result Helene, hugs to the Springers and all of your pack :)
On Sunday 11th June 2017 myself and my trusted Wing Man Dutchy; AKA Team "Pas Da" took to the Local Nature Reserve at Stanwick Lakes to run the 5K. It was touch and go whether to run with my trusted friend as the temperature was high but decided as there was a nice breeze we would give it a go, pulling out if i thought it was too much.
We held back at the start until we were almost the last runner to set off, allowing for the runners to create gaps between themselves. Something i didn't do the last time we ran in a normal non dog event and we unfortunately got caught up in the crowd which was a little intimidating for my boy.
With the lesson learned from before we set off on to a nice open path and before we knew it we were weaving in and out of the runners with Dutchy listening to my every word. The runners were very accommodating and allowed us to pass easily with each one smiling at Dutchy as we passed. Guessing that Stafford smile is infectious!
Despite a dog pee break and two "must scratch my shoulder" stops we manged to finish in fine style with a nice medal and to Dutchy's delight a banana waiting for us at the finish line.
Over all it was a great morning. The event was very well organised with the runners all very accommodating of the dogs running. Its an event we will definitely do again!
Our official time was 24:48 putting us:
18th out of 128 runners
4th female out of 88
3rd female in age category 25-49 out of 60
NATB note: So proud of Julie and Ducthy - Team Pas Da are an awesome team who's love for each other shines through - well done!
The NATBs will be keeping you up to date on their members, their dogs and events for the 2015/2016 Season. Hope you enjoy!