CSE Race Review – Take 1

CSE Foxlake Race Report, inspired by Junior and written by John McCausland

John and Junior, photo courtesy  of Yellow Dog Photography
John and Junior, photo courtesy of Yellow Dog Photography

After a week of storms, wind and heavy rain, I checked the weather forecast for Foxlake, East  Lothian one last time on Saturday evening. Heavy rain again from 9am! My overnight bag just tripled in size with the addition of spare socks, a change of clothes, waterproofs and a few towels for race day. Off we went to Dunbar for an overnight to get a good rest before an early start (for us!).

Sunday morning we arrived at John Muir Country Park greeted by three majestic Deer crossing the single track road towards part of the race course. That was Junior alert and ready to run! Arriving in good time, we got a warm welcome from Lan and Lisa and picked up our race number, followed by a slice of fantastic millionaires shortbread, which I got a few comments about! It’s a millionaire’s energy bar, right?! We said hello to all out CSE friends as well as other Beagle buddies and familiar faces including the ever mischievous Rogue Dog and Rogue Pup. But something was missing. No Rain! Somehow we had found virtually the only break in the weather for the whole

Then off to get kitted up and to the start line! I have to say that I was a little worried looking at the standard of four and two-legged athletes we were flanked by while lining up for the off. But when we approached the orange line and were given the count down, it was all about us: Junior and I running as a team, racing against ourselves… And the course!

The Course! What a joy! Starting with a boggy dip to a short incline, another quagmire of a field
before a sharp right through the woods and on to farm tracks for the next kilometre or so. Already covered in mud I knew this was going to be a fun race. And we were guided all the way impeccably by enthusiastic and encouraging marshals and some tactically placed hazard tape.

We managed to slowly overtake two (four) competitors before negotiating the sprout pickers and hitting what can only be described as perfect Canicross territory. Stunning pine woodland with its associated firm sandy grass trails, led us over ridges and bridges, a quick jog across a field, over another ridge with a tactically marked trip hazard and to the beach. The sight of the beach spurred Junior on – albeit in the wrong direction… although that might also been the site of Jane Jones from Just Dogs Shop (who were kind sponsors of the event) marshalling in the same direction. Junior always knows who to mooch from.

I was really feeling it at this point only the sight of Junior loving his run keeping me going. In the next few yards though we managed to catch up with another team from Fourth Valley and eventually overtake. What I heard at that point really embodied what Canicross is all about. As we passed our competitor from another club said to us “Well done! Good running.” Well that really spurred us on! What an incredible supportive gesture (although I’m probably 10 years his junior and had worked my socks off just to catch up, never mind overtake!) It spurred us on to our favourite part of the course. A twisty, turn-y woodland stretch where we could hear our Beagle teammate Naboo up ahead, but not see him. That gave us extra motivation to press on. But then the sound of the cheering crowd gave us another boost before we finally turned back into the field where it all started and back into the glorious mud and puddles, Junior pulling at a perfect pace.

The reception from the crowd was amazing as we crossed the line and were bombarded with medals, water, delicious fishy food for Junior and even human treats.

Junior running towards the finish, photo courtesy of Yellow Dog Photography
Junior running towards the finish, photo courtesy of Yellow Dog Photography

What really struck me about the whole day was not only the obvious extensive hard work and

preparation that had gone into making the races a success, but the friendly reception from all

involved in what was essentially a competitive meet. Junior and I are both quite introvert and can struggle with meeting others of our own kind. Being socially awkward is of little disadvantage on a day like this. Everyone was keen to talk to each other no matter what club, ability, breed, or any other factor was involved. What an incredible day at a superb facility with an awesome course. All shared with our favourite Canine buddies. This being our second race went so well that Junior and I have signed up for the long and short course and Muiravonside.   And we can’t wait!

Thank you to Yellow Dog Photography for letting me use her photos, please like her facebook page and check out her pics.

See you there!

John & Junior