I have been very remiss on posting updates on the mental stuff we have been doing this season - huge apologies, time runs away with me!
We have been very busy with events, our own and attending others, both with dogs and without - the club is growing and developing with our club spirit being so good it is heart warming to see.
I cant tell you how proud I am of our members for their attitude, care and attention they have given this year. Not just to fellow club members but others mushers as well.
We have laughed and cried together, jumped up and down in excitement and hugged when needed. We have each others backs and that's all we want.
Our dogs are happy, healthy and loved, they are funny, annoying, clever, daft but every furry inch of them is cared for better than we care for ourselves most of the time!
I am posting some pictures of just some of our exploits for your enjoyment.
Well done gang :)
Final blog for 2018, what a start to this racing season for us all.
We tried a new course at Charlton Park in October, finding another blinder, with a great campaign field. We had a great attendance and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
We then raced in Wareham in December, an old event that is enjoyed every year – and yes this year it was wet….very wet….just to make a change!
A good attendance again, not too small, not too big!
We always have our trusty photographer on hand to take hundreds of pictures for us, always to a top notch standard. Huge thanks to Nick J
The club has grown this year welcoming some new members – all have been a fantastic addition to the club.
Our club spirit has grown and become stronger. Shown in no truer way than by our awesome junior Kai – he always runs every race with enthusiasm and the most amazing sportsmanship – we are super proud of him.
Our members have attended many events, all over the country, spreading our goodwill and spirit wherever they go.
We have lost a valued canine member of our club, the gorgeous Sam; the generosity of the people in our sport blew us away. We are going to put on a class at Wareham each year in his memory – watch this space….
We would like to thank our club sponsors, K9 Fitness Ltd - Dog Exercise, Boarding & Daycare, Exeter Canine Hydrotherapy, Paws, Play and Stay and of course Edgar Cooper – who have stepped up to the plate and sponsor our event classes providing the best food possible for our wonderful canine competitors.
Our next event is in February 2019, at Charlton Park, we are hoping to mix the 1st and 2nd course together in some way to gain the best of both worlds!
We want to take this opportunity to wish everyone, human and canine a very Merry Christmas and wish you all the best for 2019.
The new season of running events has started for the club, our first event of the season in a new area of Charlton Park, our amazing private estate partner.
Using a new part of the estate the South Lodge course was enjoyed by all and had a bit of everything. A long avenue of trees to start, swinging round to come back down the avenue further over the field, then popping out into a field, running along the edge of the field before turning left into a wooded area (navigating a muddy dip!)
Out of the top of the woods onto a track before turning right into a wasteland area with old film sets and heather to run past. Navigating a family of feral cats caused some fun on this stretch before they learnt to stay out of sight! Swinging round with a sharp left we bring you towards a quarry (don't worry we don't go in) and then over a field towards the mansion, running up the track and then over the field running along next to the majestic building was beautiful.
A final swoop before going back onto the track and a fast head into the finish.
Being a shorter course of 2.2 miles to allow the less fit dogs following the the extra hot summer and warm autumn, to enjoy their first race and not to be over exercised too early.
We were super pleased to hear everyone enjoyed the course, even with the fog! It made in interesting but everyone managed to negotiate the course and all came back for the Sunday, which can only be a good thing. We kept a close eye on the weather on the Sunday as it was clear and bright sunshine, we just manged to squeeze in all of the competitors in time before it got too warm.
The club members pulled together and ran the event seamlessly, all efforts were appreciated hugely. We ate a lot of caked and laughed until our tummy's hurt - what more can we ask for.
Huge thanks goes to our wonderful sponsors - To Edgar Cooper for their main sponsorship and awesome prizes for the classes.
To Exeter Canine Hydrotherapy and K9 Fitness Ltd for their spot prize sponsorship.
Alos thanks to our club photographer, the wonderful Nick, all photos on this blog are accredited to him, more can be found on his website: draigphotography.com
And to Maggie for her wonderful cakes!!
We look forward to seeing you all again in December for the event in Wareham :)
Results from the weekend were as below:
1 Ems Hammersley
2 Peter Miles
3 Mike Holburn
1 David Fielder
2 Tony Borrell
3 Ali Bradley
1 Russell Penwell
2 Steve Downes
3 Christine Kirton
1 Ems Hammersley
2 Sheree Bell
1 Neil Smith
2 Alexis Grice
3 Howard Clarke
1 Claire O'Brien
2 Emma Giles
3 Ellie Camancho
1 San Clark
2 Russell Penwell
3 Przemyslaw Waclawek
1 Phil Edmonds
2 Julie Ellis
1 Colin Dreaver
1 Howard Clarke
2 Przemyslaw Waclawek
3 Steve Cutler
1 Ellyn Comancho
2 Julia Ebbrell
3 Anne Langston
1 Felix Smith
2 Kai Kemper
Well thanks to Roy prompting me I am doing a quick blog to round up the year for the NATBs.....so whats happened?
We have put on 2 events, gained new members (although dreadlocks are starting to become a theme ladies....I'm scared???!!), gained fur members and sadly lost fur members.
We have had multiple members gain PBs, try new disciplines, break bones (Hannah!) gain numerous bruises, laugh together, cry together, get angry together (!!) but more than in any other year; support each other and show what the club ethos is all about - fun and the dogs (and cake)
We have had a member fight her own cancer battle, and win, and we have gained a tripod member due to the horrid cancer but we are ultra proud of her and of course her owner for her love and support of her gorgeous furbaby.
We have had a new human baby join us (Jaxon) who is the cutest ever, and another one on the way!
We have many events planned for the coming year even some of us doing a dogless Muscle Acre in July (crazy people!!)
We have had a wedding (Gary and Lucy) congratulations again!
New kit, new designs, a member climb a mountain and a new treasurer.
Maggie has had a photo go viral (its everywhere!!) Pizzagate!
2 lady members successfully completed the Red Bull Fox Hunt and another the Paras10!
The agility season is well under way with many of our South West contingent taking part regularly.
The dog athletics season is well under way with 2 members participating with their dogs and excelling as always.
There have been new puppies (proper gingers!) and Petra has raised her first litter from Psykhe x Rock, the Fate Litter, who are all fabulous.
We have new sponsors, thanks to Scallywags, Paws Play and Stay and Exeter Canine Hydrotherapy.
We have enjoyed supporting HSDR in their new events and continued support to our old favourites Checkendon Challenge, The Midlands, CaniX and many others.
Our 2 events in conjunction with the BSA went well - Wareham a well know and loved venue went like clockwork. Charlton Park, a new fabulous private venue will be remembered for its mud, some timings excel spreadsheet issues (we are still apologizing about that!) but mainly the awesome new trail and the smiles on peoples faces as they finished! Many lessons learnt this year which we will take forward to next year.
We are super proud of our efforts and we are pleased to say we will be doing the same again this year, we are also looking at another new private venue......maybe 2! So watch this space!
Basically our year has been jammed packed, so jam packed the blog posts have been few and far between (apologies) but I hope to remedy this by giving myself a kick!
The NATBs have had a good year and I for one am a very proud and happy chairwoman - go team!!
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 will be keeping you up to date on their members, their dogs and events for the 2015/2016 Season. Hope you enjoy!