Covering some miles in the Coltswolds with Team Dog Backpacker
Maverick Race Cotswolds - Sudeley Castle Saturday 7th March
Having followed Maverick races on social media for almost a year, this is my first event with them. There was an option of 3 routes - Short (7k), Middle (16k) and Long (23k) - with Lyca's training runs now up to 15 miles we opted for the long knowing that we could walk / trot if she needed to.
The run started at Sudeley Castle grounds, so plenty of (free) parking very close to the start line. Registration was easy and there was a good set up of seating by firepits, with good quality food and drinks to purchase. Lyca was a little nervous at the start again, and this was my friends first race with her dog Jenson, so we stayed at the back until just after the 10am start, where all routes went off together.
Lyca pulled to catch up as we ran through the grounds and overtook some of the runners. The trail turned into a field, and we hit the back of a bottleneck! A kissing gate surrounded by thick, gloopy mud either side! Some runners tried to bypass to an alternate gate but this wasn't an option with lifting the dogs! So we waited... finally through, we ran again to hit the back of another line. there weren't too many complaints, trail runners understand that mud and stiles are part of the package!
With only 1.3 miles gone, we'd already been out for 45 mins, but following 3 slow periods we could eventually get running. The route was a mixture of trails, track, fields and some roads. There were some fairly steep sections which we walked and only a few steep downhills (which I struggle more on with Lyca's pulling!). The course is well signed which meant we could just enjoy the running, and it split at 2 points, with helpful volunteers ensuring we went the right way. On the long route, we had 3 check points with fruit, hydration and sweets, and a bowl of fresh water for the dogs - although they usually prefer the muddy puddles!
We were some of the last to finish, but we didnt't care. We ran as a team and enjoyed every moment. As we crossed the finish line, I was handed a medal and I put it on... 'That's for the dog' I was told... They have their own personal medal, a black band with dog paws on it! And we are handed a beer, an orange medal and some iced coffee! What a perfect ending!! Lyca was visibly tired at this point but she'd done so well to with the mental and physical stimulation of the day... she pulled her usual sad / unimpressed face for the photos though!
We checked out the food options and decided on Chulli Pizza whilst the dogs had their well deserved treats of tripe / salami sticks and meat rolls. The journey home was only just over an hour and we had a very peaceful evening with a very tired dog!
Maverick Races are well organised, friendly and have a fantastic set up. They hold numerous runs around the country and the majority are dog friendly, but please check the race details on their website before signing up - http://www.maverick-race.com/
Only 2 weeks until the next event....
Love Helen and Lyca x
Official Maverick Photos - https://www.thephbalance.co.uk/
Last photo - https://chulli.co.uk/