Canicross: Rescues on the World Stage
Canicross? While this sport is unheard of to many, it’s essentially the sport of cross country running with your dog. Born from the traditional dog powered sport of mushing, canicross races can be found across the country, but particularly in the northern states.
What does canicross look like? Envision you and your dog sharing a bond and running trails together. You’ll be wearing a waist/hip belt, and your pup will be wearing a harness with a line attaching the two of you. Your pup will be running out in front of you, pulling, smiling all the way. Canicross races require that your dog wear a harness and that your line is attached to the harness. A line should never be attached to the collar for safety purposes. Retractable leashes are not allowed, and bungee lines are a must to help reduce stress on both the pup and the human athlete.
My husband Nick and I got started in the sport thanks to our Alaskan Malamute, Ruger. We both have running backgrounds, and when Ruger joined our family, we quickly learned he needed an outlet for his energy. We began running with Ruger, and have been working to build our team by adopting rescue dogs that are deemed “unadoptable” due to their high energy. These dogs need an outlet, and running not only provides them with a place for their energy, but it brings extensive joy to dogs that had once been abandoned. We now have eight dogs and race canicross and bikejoring, as well as sled and dryland rig races.
In 2016, we began competing competitively, traveling to races across the United States. In 2017, both Nick and I were selected to represent the United States via the United States Federation of Sled Dog Sports (USFSS) at the International Federation of Sled Dog Sports (IFSS) Dryland World Championships in Poland in the sport of canicross. With rescue pups Oso and Prudhoe, Nick placed in the top 20 in the world, and I placed in the top 50. We had the opportunity to learn from some of the best on how they trained both themselves and their dogs. As we work toward more international races, we had the opportunity to again travel to Poland at the beginning of October to represent the US among a field of strong competitors at the International Canicross Federation (ICF) World Championships with Oso and Denali. Nick returned with a 28th place finish, and I placed 44th.
If you are interested in the sport of canicross, Stockton State Park Marina offers a great chance to try it out at the Havin’ A Crappie Weekend Outdoor Festival in April. The 5.6k course takes place on the Lakeview Trail. If you’d like to learn more about canicross, we encourage you to visit our website at www.luckyfoxkennel.com, or follow us on Facebook at Lucky Fox Racing – Mushing and Canicross. We are happy to help you get started in the sport, so please reach out if you have any questions. Happy Trails!
Article & Photos: Joy Weis