Ruff Dugger & Cani-Fit Experience IV 14-15th March 15

Avril & Bailey's weekend of adventures (photo by Caroline Burrough)

Avril & Bailey’s weekend of adventures (photo by Caroline Burrough)

What a wonderful weekend this was!  Bailley and I travelled down to Ayr on Friday afternoon in preparation for our first Ruff Dugger on Saturday morning at Auchinleck Estate.  On arriving at the venue we were guided round the farm to park in a shed, the place was buzzing with people and dogs. I registered and collected my number, the butterflies started in my stomach!


Avril & Bailey at Ruff Dugger

Avril & Bailey at Ruff Dugger (photo by Angela Spence)

At 9.30am I went to listen to Lindsay’s briefing and I was nervously excited and couldn’t wait to get started! As I was number 87 I had time to go and watch the first runners start before going and getting changed and get Bailley into his harness. Walking round to the start Bailley was going round the puddles and trying to keep out of the mud…………if only he knew!!!

Finally it was our turn, we were on the start line and being counted down, my heart was racing and we were off across the first field and into the unknown…..let the adventure begin.  What a wonderful course from the first mud swamp where we were up over our knees in mud, through streams over trees down bankings sliding and slipping and all the time when I looked around me all I could see were happy smiling faces of people and dogs having fun……I have to say Bailley was a bit of a princess to start with but soon realised he had to move and couldn’t just stand stuck in the mud and I’m sure he eventually thoroughly enjoyed it too. All the marshall’s were brilliant taking the time to read our numbers and calling out our names to give us that extra  bit encouragement which was very much appreciated. Cameras were clicking and there is some wonderful photo’s to save the memories for everyone. The feeling crossing the finish line is one that is very hard to put into words…… adrenalin flowing, ecstatic, wonderful and relief!

Back to the car with Bailley, dry him off, put his fleece coat on and let him rest to dream about what he had just accomplished. After getting changed myself the hot soup, burger rolls and cakes organised by Boswell Coach House were very much appreciated. In the evening everyone was invited back to Boswell Coach House where Rory Douglas hosted a party for everyone! It was a very light-hearted evening spent in excellent company where everyone could relax before the next day’s adventure started.

Sunday morning I got up early and walked Bailley before heading back to Auckinleck Estate to take part in the Cani-Fit Experience IV Race. I was only doing the short course of 3k with Bailley which wasn’t starting until 11am but the atmosphere and excitement of everyone getting ready for the Bikejor, Scooter and the 5k race was electric. I have total admiration for everyone who was on bikes and scooter’s they were all amazing and I can honestly say I will NEVER be doing that……my heart was in my mouth as I watched them fly past me!


Avril & Bailey at Cani-Fit Experience IV

Avril & Bailey at Cani-Fit Experience IV (photo by Julie Eastgate)

Finally again Bailley and I were on the start line being counted down and I must admit at first my legs felt heavy from the day before’s adventures but we got into it and again it was an amazing course with even a “water feature” in it which Bailley stopped short at but I just told him “you coped with a lot more yesterday so come on” and we just ran through it soaked to the waist again. The encouragement from fellow Cani-Sports Edinburgh members standing at the finish line was very much appreciated!

I have to mention all the kids taking part were absolutely brilliant and it was lovely to see so many of them as after all they are the future of our wonderful sport.

I only started running a year past July when I was 59 at the time and the encouragement and support I have had from our Club has been totally overwhelming and has given me a wonderful new hobby. It is never too late to start and although I will never be that fast the enjoyment and fun I have taking part is second to none.

Thank you Lindsay Cani-Fit and all your helpers, Rory Douglas and all your Staff at Boswell Coach House for making this such a wonderful weekend for not only me but for everyone who took part. I will certainly be returning to do it all again in the future.

Avril Dodds