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Speedy Monmouth student completes European canicross hat-trickOctober 19th, 2017
A speedy Monmouth schoolboy has teamed up with his Scandinavian pet hound to win a European sporting title in the Italian Alps.
Rowan, 15, and Wilma triumphed in the Junior Men’s category at the International Canicross Federation’s European Championships in Santa Maria Maggiore.
Rowan, a pupil at Monmouth School for Boys, was a clear winner in the 15 to 18 age section, storming to victory 52 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Frenchman Johan Patin.
It is the third time Rowan has won the event – but the first with 16-month-old Wilma, a purpose-bred sled dog from Germany.
The talented teenager also represented the British elite men’s relay team in Italy and they finished a creditable fifth place against fierce competition.
“I am absolutely delighted and very proud of completing a hat-trick of European title wins,” said Rowan.
“It was special because it was Wilma’s first major championships.
“She has only been competing since the summer and is also a family dog who takes part in regular walks, football and cricket.”
Rowan has enjoyed a host of European title triumphs since he started competing in 2010 with his kelpie cross Henry.
The pair are currently training for a half-marathon in the Brecon Beacons in early December.
Canicross is a cross-country running sport in which participants wear a waistbelt that attaches via a two-metre bungee line to a padded dog harness.
Many of the competitors in elite-level Canicross are leading lights in other adrenaline-filled sports such as athletics, cross-country or mountain running.
The sport is popular in Europe, where it is used to train dog-sled teams and it is growing quickly in the UK with weekly competitions taking place across the country.
Rowan was part of a 24-strong GB team as 600 athletes from all over Europe battled it out for the top spot. is setting his sights on next year’s event in Poland where a World title will be up for grabs.
He is already setting his sights on next year’s event in Poland where a World title will be up for grabs.
Rowan’s mum, Claire, is also heavily involved in the sport.
She was the GB team leader in Italy for the British Sleddog Sports Federation whilst cheering her son on to gold medal glory.
Claire normally competes in longer distance events – usually half marathons and mountain running with her dogs.