Building up an impressive back catalogue of Canicross race successes, Graeme Miller and fantastically fast companion Chester have had a dream start to their enterprise. They’d won the Dorset Ooser Half Marathon in Chester’s first stab at the distance and had also notched wins in the Maverick Hampshire 17km and the New Forest Off-Road 10k.
They’d also been competing in the Fur Nations series and Graeme had come in as 2nd V50 and 4th overall in the first event at Pembrey in Wales. Then in the second event at Cannock Chase he was 1st V50 and 2nd overall.
The Houghton Trail Event consisted of an 11k run, along with a couple of cycling races and a 4k fun run. The 11k route was contested over both a Canicross and a regular race format.
The 11k route featured a stunning section of bluebells at around 6km. Although it was mostly off-road, the surfaces were fairly smooth for the majority of the way. The course leads onto Test Way at around 8/9km and along the Clarendon Way near the end.
As they always tend to, Graeme and Chester got away quickly, registering a 5:50 for the first mile event though most of it was uphill. Heading back down the slope for the second mile, that was a 5:49 split before they went up a slightly steeper incline on the third mile.
That slowed them down to a 7:09 but they picked it up again on the down, putting in a 5:52 for the fourth mile. The last three miles of the race were pretty flat and Graeme and Chester got through them in 6:23, 6:36 and significantly faster for the final mile.
Getting to the line in 43:54, Graeme and Chester finished top of the standings in the Canicross race, just ahead of Al McKinnon who got the line five seconds later to take the runner up spot.
It turned out that was actually a quicker time than anyone recorded in the non Canicross race as the winner of that could only manage 44:15.
The fact Graeme is often quick enough with Chester to defeat anyone else who’s running without a dog is a seriously impressive feat and goes to show how well he’s mastered Canicross in a short space of time.
Next up for Graeme and Chester it was the third leg of the Fur Nations tournament which took place in Glamis Castle, Scotland. Graeme has been representing Scotland in the Fur Nations series and has been trying to win points for them as they battle to stop England winning a clean sweep for each of the three locations.