Admin @ 23 May 2021


Sunday May 23rd, 2021


Covid lockdown has been challenging for all of us, but also for our four legged friends. But,.... at last,.... there was something to cheer today about at Forestry England's showpiece venue Dalby Forest, in North Yorkshire. After understandable and unavoidable delays and postponements due to the pandemic asting over 15 months finally canicross returned to for it's grass roots participants.

With a limited field due to residual pandemic restrictions, the event saw 27 human / canine teams  vie for supremacy over a challenging 5K Adderstone course. The route is rated with a World League Canicross CCF (Course Complexity Factor) of 0.6. Performances should have been further hampered by recent torrential downpours which made going heavy for the competitors. However the significant content of World League Canicross runners notched up consistent impressive points scoring.

The event is organised under the Active Forest initiative between Dalby forest and North Yorkshire sports. Active Forest is a project aimed at encouraging people to come and be more physically active in forests across the UK. North Yorkshire sport works closely with Dalby Forest in Ryedale to encourage people to participate in a variety of activities creating a 'sporting habit for life'. Canicross is one example of how the Sport England funded programme is demonstrably improving lifestyles, health and welfare.

Result times for all event competitors will be released in the coming days. However WLC league members already have their points awarded. Al Mathers with his dog Erik taking top honours with an impressive 85.59 event points. "It was tough going with some of the terrain being boggy, but we still turned in a PB". Kate Colcutt & Moose echoed the upbeat sentiment from the event, "I really enjoyed seeing real people and their dogs today. After difficult time it’s lifted our spirits". Lou Hodgson & Lilo had their moments too..."I wasn’t quite prepared for the hill. Nice route though, worst part was my harness has snapped and didn't realise till we got over the finish line."

World League Canicross Ltd. took the opportunity at the event to announce intentions to run additional events at Dalby, along with it's sister brands World League Bikejor & World League Canitrek. 

"We have an exciting opportunity to continue the momentum gained with the sport (even during lockdown)", said Phil Irwin CEO of WLC. "Negotiations are early and ongoing for a national series and championship, but what I can say is that we have some exceptional talent and resources at our disposal". "An example of this is former team GB Bikejor competitor and WLC executive director Jo Wormald. Dalby is noted for its world cup standard mountain biking routes and courses. It's a natural progression to create training for the high energy sport of Bikejoring - and Jo is more than well placed to impart her international experience and knowledge with the new and developing canine sports audience. As the first Yorkshire person to be selected for Team GB in dryland mushing classes at both European and World Championships combined with this world class forest sports facility is a dream ticket"

Irwin additionally implied that the open will likely incorporate 3 canine sports disciplines. Canicross, Bikejor and Canitrek. Canicross is the sport of cross country running with dogs. Originating in Europe as off-season training for the mushing (sledding) community, it has become popular as a stand-alone sport all over Europe, especially in the UK. Canicross is closely related to bikejoring, where participants cycle with their dog. Canitrekking / Canihiking is akin to competitive athletic race walking but with rules and equipment aligned more with canicross. League scoring is a points based system, centred around world masters athletics age grade algorithms and WLC's proprietary canicross coefficients.

The next race in the North Yorkshire Sports / Active forests series is scheduled to take place in September. Further details will become available on the North Yorkshire Sports website . Information regarding the canicross, bikejor & caniterk leagues is available at