The Nightjar 5-mile trail run
Sally Cordon-Painter and Reuben, in support of Spaniel Aid UK!
I have been a SAUK volunteer for around a year, helping out with home checks and transport. I recently took up CaniCross as way back into running after an injury and as a way to spend (even) more time with Reuben… We started out around 8 weeks ago: Reuben had never been in a proper trail harness and I could barely run 5k, but our ‘dog-gang’ (Devon CaniCross) took us under their wing and we have made some amazing new friends and seriously upped our running game! So when our first proper race came around this September, it seemed a great opportunity to raise some funds for SAUK! I built up Reuben’s distances gradually, allowing plenty of time out-of-harness on our training runs so that it remained fun and not too intense for him, but he really has taken to it (a Spaniel that likes to pull – who would have thought?!)
So on race day, we were feeling good! At dusk we gathered for our pre-race briefing in the lovely surroundings of Bicton Arena with our Devon CaniCross friends – 2 more spanners, a husky/rottie cross and an assortment of others!
Pre-race briefing at dusk
We set off well, with lots of excitement and noise, but Roo quickly settled and had his game face on. The terrain over Bicton and Woodbury commons is a mixture of stony tracks, woodland, sandy areas and pebblebed heath. The views are spectacular in the day time but within about 5 minutes we were in full darkness, running by headtorch! There are a few hills, which we took at a steady pace – always led by how hard the dogs want to go – and lots of long fast stretches on the flat. There was one sticky moment where Roo “needed urgently” to sniff something off-trail, and I ended up face-first against an oak tree… but luckily it was mossy so no damage!
As we crossed back onto the cross-country course at Bicton, we emptied our tanks and ran a fast final mile, with a sprint finish.
We crossed the line in 53 minutes and received probably the nicest race medal ever cast!
At the finish with our bling!
But the real stars are the people who have contributed to the donation that I’m about to transfer:
Early on we smashed our original target of £100, upping it to £300… and then we have nearly doubled that. Thank you ALL, so very much! Your generosity spurred us on and we hope we did you proud J
Sal and Roo xx