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Canicross champion and his best friend bring home the gold

October 14th, 2015

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A remarkable runner and his cuddly companion have brought home the gold after competing in the European Canicross Championships last weekend.

Rowan, a pupil at Monmouth School, is over the moon after winning the junior category at the two-day competition in Blairgowrie with his faithful race partner Henry.

The dynamic duo previously won a gold medal at the British Championships in February, where they enlisted the help of Rowan’s other kelpie, Babs, to come first in the two-dog rig sled class.

Rowan and his dog Munster also achieved a personal best of 16.57 minutes in the 5km event.

Canicross, the sport of cross country running with a dog attached to a waist belt via a two-metre bungee line, has been a part of Rowan’s life since he was nine.

The 13-year-old said: “I was nervous but excited about the European Championships as I hadn’t won it before.

“I was amazed that Henry and I managed to get a better time than lots of the adults in the short 3km event on Saturday, and I was extremely happy to win the junior gold medal.

“The course was muddy after some traditional Scottish rain, the fact we got to see a show from the northern lights when we were there made the weekend even more special.”

With Rowan taking the gold in the U15 category, Belgium won silver and Spain took bronze.

“I loved seeing my European friends and, of course, the teamwork with Henry,” Rowan added.

“I was really over the moon to win, especially because a timing error last year cost me the gold medal.”

Rowan also enjoyed success at the schools cross-country event in Monmouth on October 7, where he qualified for the Year 8 and 9 Welsh Championships in Cardiff.

The dog-lover, who lives with 13 pooches at home in St Briavels, has previously won first place medals in the annual Trophée des Montagnes (TDM) canicross race in the French Alps.

This is an 11-stage mountain running event which takes place over nine days and attracts competitors from all over the world.

Best friends Rowan and Henry, a rescue dog, have also climbed the Brecon Beacons and 9,000ft in the Alps together.

In March, Rowan was delighted to be asked to take part in the canicross demonstration at Crufts, held at Birmingham’s NEC, to represent the British Sleddog Sports Federation.

He said: “It was an amazing experience to be asked again to be an ambassador for my sport in the main arena at Crufts.

“I enjoyed being part of the demonstration with Munster who is a rehomed German Shorthaired Pointer and representing Great Britain.

“There were many competitors at Crufts from all around the world and it was a great atmosphere.

“Canicross is a sport for people of all ages and dogs of all sizes.

“It’s a good way to keep you and your dog in good shape.

“You can run for fun or take part in competitions.”

The 2016 European Championships are being held in the Czech Republic, and plans are already underway for Rowan’s campaign.

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