SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Here’s how Joy Weis describes the sport of “Canicross.”
“You’re running with your dog tied to a leash — they are out in front — so you just try to keep up!”
It’s a big-time sport in Europe, Canada and some northern states. And for this Thanksgiving, Joy and her husband, Nick, will be heading to Szamotuly – Kozle, Poland, to compete in an international Canicross race there, the Springfield News-Leader reports.
“We’ve got an Airbnb with the rest of the U.S. team, so we may try to do a Thanksgiving meal and invite everyone else to experience a traditional Thanksgiving dinner,” Joy Weis said. “If we can find the stuff to make it.”
Nick and Joy, who live in Lebanon, Missouri, got their start in Canicross racing in an unusual way.
In 2012 they adopted an Alaskan Malamute only 4 months old from a rescue shelter.
“We started running with him because he had so much energy. Later we adopted an Alaskan Husky,” she said. “We also bought a sled for them to pull us. We had a lot of snow in Lebanon that year.”
The dogs they’ll take to Poland are Prudhoe and Oso, both weighing about 55 or 60 pounds apiece. They’re built for power, not necessarily speed.
“Most of the really serious Canicross racers compete with a ‘grayster,’ which is a pointer and greyhound mix,” she said. “They are bred for the sport.”
Prudhoe and Oso, both huskies, will find temperatures in the 30s in Poland a good thing, Joy Weis said.
“Because of their coats we won’t run them if the temperature’s more than 70 degrees or if the humidity is high,” she said. “But in the winter, they do love the cold.”
In Poland they’ll each run two days of races, each race just short of a 5k distance, or a little less than 3.1 miles.
Joy, the senior manager of Satellite Clinics for Jordan Valley Community Health Center, said she and her husband often train by running with their dogs on sections of the Frisco-Highline trail between Bolivar and Willard.
Jordan Valley employees collected more than 160 pounds of dog food for the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri in honor of Team Weis.
Joy said Canicross events are rare in Missouri, but she hopes to expand the sport.
She and Nick are heading one of the first Canicross races in the area next April at Stockton State Park.
Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com
This is an AP Member Exchange shared by the Springfield News-Leader.