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Running with your dog

We love dogs! And we know that many of you do too and like to bring them along with you to our races and event weekends. We wanted to put together this short blog to go over our doggie rules and answer some of your most frequently asked questions.

We offer dog-friendly races at our Spring Larmer races (open for entries now) and our Ox Races (open for entries from 17th November), with a choice of two races available at each. These races are always very popular and tend to sell out fast. In part, this is due to the fact that we have to cap the number of dog runners we can have on the courses. We’re very grateful to the landowners that we are able to offer this option at these two race weekends.

We take our participating dogs’ welfare very seriously, so we do need to point out a few rules if you’re planning on running with a dog. We have to take out separate, additional insurance for every dog runner on our course, and this only applies if we ensure that certain terms are met. Therefore, it’s extremely important that our rules are followed, or we may lose the opportunity to have dogs at our races at all. These rules are written clearly into our terms and conditions, which you must agree to when entering a race. Therefore, if you’re planning on running with your pup, please make sure that you read these before agreeing.

Read a copy of the terms and conditions here

In short, you are required to have public liability insurance (which is usually included in your pet insurance or household insurance), you must have the right Canicross equipment to run with, and you can’t win prizes for the main races (but we do have separate prizes for the winners of the dog-friendly races). Runners with dogs must also start separately to the main event, which for our races is 15 minutes before the main field.

It’s really important that you’re aware of what kit you can and cannot run with. You must not run with a handheld lead. We will not allow you to start if you don’t have the right equipment, so please don’t put us in an awkward position by turning up unprepared. Your dog should be wearing a harness and be attached to you at all times via a suitable waist belt. If you need advice on kit, please ask in the Facebook Group as we have some really experienced dog runners in there. There are also some handy local groups dedicated to Canicross, such as Wessex Canicross and Canicross Dorset.

During the race it is your responsibility to maintain control of your dog, to clean up after them, and to ensure their welfare at all times. We won’t tolerate anyone putting their own race PB over the needs of their dog. We supply water bowls at our aid stations to help your pup to stay hydrated.

Common questions

Can I run with my dog and a friend who is running without a dog?

We don’t mind if you run with a non dog runner, but they will need to enter the dog start race not the main race, as the starts are 15 minutes apart and we need to allow the dog runners to get clear before the mass start. They are essentially two separate races, with two separate sets of timing. If you’re doing the Ox Frolic, it’s a little easier, as you could meet up after the first lap and run together from there, or take the first lap very slowly so they can catch up after the mass start.

Why can’t I run with my dog at [insert race name here!]?

The only dog-friendly races we offer are at Spring Larmer and Ox. None of our other races can have dogs on the course. We run with the kind permission of landowners and many of our courses have livestock on private land where dogs are not allowed to run. We also don’t have dogs at dark races because it’s an extra risk when there are a lot of people running around with limited visibility.

Can I bring my dog to camp with me/spectate?

Dogs are generally allowed on site at all our races and on our camping weekends. However, they must be kept on a lead at all times, under control and cleaned up after. Please respect the land we are using and don’t break these rules, or we will have to change this and your pup won’t be able to come at all. 

Why does it cost more to enter the dog-start race than the mass start?

Simply, it costs more to host a dog-friendly race. We have to pay an extra insurance cost for every dog runner at the race. The additional cost (£2) also covers a parking pass so you can park close to the start line – this helps as we ask you to come to the very short race briefing without your dog so you can hear the instructions clearly. It also covers a special doggy reward at the finish line, as well as the provision of extra water and bowls on the course. We also send out your race number by post so that you don’t have to queue on the day to get your number, to make it easier on your dog. 

We hope that clears up any questions and lays out our conditions for having dog runners. We love seeing you with your furry pals on the course, so please do come along and enjoy the races!

Enter our dog-friendly races here: https://whitestarrunning.clubtrac.co.uk/o/white-star-running-408

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