Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Tom's Cross!

Posted by Rosie

No - Tom isn't cross but he has just completed a cross-country event that the French simply call "Cross".  November 11th is  Bank holiday in France and every year on this date there is a large cross country event at Montilly, half way between Condé-sur-Noireau and Flers.  Tom went a couple of years ago when he ran about 800m with the youngest runners.  This time he was with the older group of children born in 2001 and 2002 and the race had increased to 1.8km.  However he has already done this length twice recently, first at school and second at a school event last week so was not worried.

Tom near the finish
Tom is a good runner but not as good as some of those competing and he wasn't quite up there with the winners. Nor was he last though and he finished in a very respectable 8 minutes.  He kept a very constant pace throughout and said he thoroughly enjoyed it.  We now probably now need to look into getting him some better cross country running shoes as he was slipping in the wet conditions underfoot in his ordinary trainers and reckoned he could have done better with the right footwear.

Canicross competitors raring to go
Cross-country running was not the only discipline taking place at Montilly yesterday.  There was also a cross-country walk, mountain biking, cross-country horse and carriage driving and Canicross.  Canicross is something I had seen once before on TV (possibly Countryfile) but yesterday we got to see if for real.  Basically it is cross country running with your dog.  Your dog is attached to you with a harness and you run together shouting right and left to your dog as required. Any dog can take part so long as it is willing to run at a similar pace to you and can learn the basic commands of left and right .... oh and not get in a scrap with another dog at the start which did happen briefly yesterday!

Terrier (although not the third placed one)
About 30 runners and dogs took off to run 5.4km - 3 times round the course that Tom had just finished.  They all took it quite seriously although after the first time round the course they were very spread out and there was definite cases of dogs who felt this was just a gentle stroll whilst there owners got slower!  In the lead was one very fit couple, a man running with a large Pointer type dog and boy could they cover the ground.  When they finished, far in front of the rest of the pack, they had lapped many of the other competitors.  Second the third were however much closer to each other and proved size was no handicap in canicross.  To be honest we didn't take too much notice of second place because we were busy watching the third placed runners .... a man and his very short-legged Jack Russell who was tearing along at a tremendous rate.  Goodness knows how many more paces that little fella had to have done compared to the much bigger first placed dog but I reckon on a level playing ground he'd easily beaten the Pointer. 

And in answer to the question some of you may now ask - No, I don't think we'll be taking up canicross with either Poppy or Saari - they do enjoy a bit of a run if they are playing or chasing something but running just because you ask them to is not something they do.  And as for teaching them left from right I rather suspect we would we on a hiding to nothing!

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