Afan Forest Canicross - 10k Tough Runner - January 11th 2020
It's January... its raining...and we leave Warwickshire at 5am to get to Wales for the first time Tough Runner have hosted a Canicross event.
They've put on a 5k and 10k and we start 2 hours before the main event, so its less busy at the start and during the race itself. Registration is easy and parking is close enough to the start line for us to get organised but as we head to the start line, this is the first time I've seen Lyca nervous. Tail between her legs, she curls up into a ball surrounded by a mixture of barking and calm dogs.
The 10k start first so we head further towards the front but Its difficult to hear the briefing due to the sheer noise of the excited dogs... then suddenly the buzzer goes and we're off! Lyca's nervousness fades and she's pulling to get in front. A sharp right - she nearly runs into the crowd - and we're off uphill! Its more track than trail, but its wide enough for good passing opportunities and also to get chatting with other runners.
The rain starts to get heavy as we climb further uphill so sadly the views are not as spectacular as they could be but its still a stunning surrounding. The course is easily marked which means we just enjoy the event. With another turn we head downhill, luckily it not too steep as Lyca is still pulling so I try not to lose my grip. In the final 1k or so, we hit 'the Wall' .. a steep uphill climb to the finish line. Most runners, and dogs, are walking by this point, with a few bursts of energy in between. We turn the corner and see the finish line - time for a sprint photo finish.
This is a well organised event, especially for runners new to trailrunning and also to canicross. I've seen they will be holding this event next January so keep an eye out.
We hung around to see the start of the actual event before spending the afternoon exploring the forest (still in the rain!) and eating in the cafe (dogs welcome inside) before heading home.
Helen & Lyca x
Event Website: Tough Runner UK
Photos credit: Ed Morris Photography