One Man and his Dogstacle
Review by Andrew Ibbott
The day had finally arrived where two of my passions collide. Canicross (running with your dog) and obstacle course racing- DOGSTACLE (can you see what they did there?)
Although pre race communication from the host ‘Zeus races’ had stated that the obstacles will not be man made but natural it would still be a great challenge and I was still very excited.
The day didn’t start brilliantly as the venue wasn’t signed greatly and although I managed to catch a glimpse of the only sign to show that you at the right location many were not so luckily and drove straight past.
On entering the grounds parking was simple but many were surprised by the £4 compulsory charge to park, they did state this was going to charity but, not everyone likes surprises and luckily I was carrying some change.
Registration was quick and easy which is always appreciate and the Dogfit stall (this was the event sponsor) was very useful offering plenty of kit advise.
As time past it went from a very empty field to a lively gathering of dog lovers, with hounds and humans of all shapes and sizes. The dogs certainly adding to the atmosphere making it feel much bigger than the quite low key race it was.
The day was split into two races, a 5km and 10km, with the 10km being 2 laps of the 5km course. After a briefing we were called to the start line and those that wanted to race were invited to the front. As the dogs and their owners gathered there was an overwhelming noise of barking that seems to raise the atmosphere. Dogs are certainly the most excitable racers that I have ever seen (or heard!) As the starting siren went the runners shot off, many humans being dragged by four legged friends.
The course promised a mix of terrains and natural obstacles and it delivered. It started out in a field of long grass which unfortunately was hiding some large holes below providing not just a obstacle but hazard for most. We then darted into the woods and the course got exciting as in no time we were jumping gullies, climbing fallen trees and ascending short, steep banks.
A couple of big loops of the same grassy field wasn’t as enjoyable but we soon entered back into the woods for some more fun. As well as tight technical terrain the woodland also provided some much needed shade on such a warm day, and for those that needed it, a few natural water stops for the dogs.
Another section in the field followed which wasn’t pleasant with the sun beaming down but we were soon back in the woods for the final section. More technical tracks followed before some mud pits. This was made to look easy by most of the dogs with their humans companions struggling a bit more. But a nice addition which pushed the level of the challenge up a few notches. One last long field section lead to the finish line or end of the first lap for us 10k runners.
At the finish line the dogs were treated well with bowls of water and baths and there was a dog themed goodie bag. These were nice touches that showed a caring for the dogs which was a theme that ran throughout the day. Not to mention that both dog and human received their own medal to wear with pride.
This race wasn’t the most challenging obstacle course but nor was it meant to be. It was a fun event which still provided a good challenge for most and an opportunity to get out and enjoy doing the things I love doing in anew experience of having my dog along side me for company.
At the end of the day, did the dogs love it? Yes. Did my shoes get muddy? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Will I sign up again? At the price it was this year most definitely. With a few tweaks this will be a great event. Well done team Dogstacle.
The next Dogstacle event- Dogstacle North, is on October 29th in Ashby-de-la-Zouch during a full day of Zeus Races events including a regular humans only OCR and a Halloween zombie run. This time there will be actual man made obstacles for dogs and the owners to negotiate adding a whole new challenge.