Kim Mazzucca an Introduction

Snowpaw Store is proud to add another sponsor and introduce to you, Kim Mazzucca. Kim is a world class Cani-Crosser and cross country runner, travelling all over the globe to compete. We are pleased to sponsor her and hope that her experiences can inspire others to take up the fantastic and exciting sport of Canicross.

Why Canicross?

I am a very keen runner and have been since my early school days, where I enjoyed mainly cross country running. I won numerous county titles, and later as a senior, where as well as county cross country/track titles I also won national civil service titles and at the “World Fire Service Games” in Las Vegas back in the early nineties, I won 3 gold’s at various distances. As I came from a very horse mad family, and being equally as successful riding horses, I never pursued my athletics career too seriously. These days I run for my local running club, “Forest of Dean AC”, that’s when/if I can fit a race in, as I now much prefer the sport of Canicross, which means cross country running with dogs.

How did you discover Cani-Cross?

I first discovered this fantastic sport some 18 months ago by accident, whilst sat in the waiting room in my local vets! As I had always taken my dogs out on training runs with me, I was very excited to find out that there was actually a sport that involved runners and their dogs together as a team! I tried out a few events that were held over approx 5k distances, and we quickly established ourselves as being very good at it! At the time I had a long legged jack russell terrier called Fox, who was a typical feisty terrier, and due to his tendency to scrap with anything that moved, the idea of running while on a line and attached to me at all times seemed like the perfect answer! He is incredibly fast for such a small dog, with amazing stamina, probably due to him having always also coming out on exercise with me on the horses. (We live in the Forest of Dean, horse riders and canicrosser's paradise!)

In October last year I competed in the European Canicross Championships, in Hungary, and with little Foxy, we finished up with a silver medal! We generated a few laughs before the race, with comments like 'dog with no legs etc! The Europeans tend to use much larger dogs that are purpose bred for the sport, as opposed to us here in the UK that generally use our pets, whatever they may be. My terrier looked like a hamster in comparison, but he showed everybody that though he may be small in size, he is big with attitude... oh, and very fast too! After the Europeans, a chance meeting in a car park with some guys with a van load of huskies, lead to my discovering “Canicross Trailrunners”. I now compete in events via them, and really enjoy the challenge of much longer distances, not to mention the great camaraderie amongst them too!

Where will you compete next and what are your future aims?

I have now set my sights on the “Trophe des Montagnes”, a 12 stage canicross race over the Alps in August, taking place over a period of 9 days. This is a seriously tough challenge, and my commitment to this event led me to seeking sponsorship, for which Snowpaw Store have kindly helped, together with Alpha Dog Foods, who supply my dogs with their top class High Performance feed. I also hope to compete again in the next European Championships later this year, in Belgium.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests?

My other interests are horses, of which I have 4, and I think that the fact my dogs also often come on exercise with the horses, they have amazing fitness and stamina. I have also re-homed another dog, called Oki. He is a lurcher (collie x Whippet) and came to me as he had a tendency to want to chase sheep. So once again Cani-Cross is ideal for him, as he is under full control and gets plenty of exercise. He took to it very naturally and is also very good with the bike (bikejoring) though we have not competed in any bikejoring events yet! He has now completed his pet passport process, so now he will be competing in the TDM as my 2nd dog. I think it will be good to be able to alternate the dogs, as it will more than likely be very hot at times, and 12 stages is a lot to ask. Shame I got to do all 12 stages myself though! Unfortunately my dogs somehow managed to pick up Kennel cough a couple of weeks ago, so they are resting up this month.  We hope to be back in action very soon, and May looks like quite a busy month for canicross races. I don’t know how I manage to juggle it all at times; I work as a care worker on permanent night shifts! This does mean that I am always at home though so my dogs and horses always have me around, when I’m not asleep! So until next month, bye for now!