Dubai: Dozens of dog owners are preparing to participate in what is said to be the first-ever ‘Canicross’, a sport of cross-country running with dogs, to take place in the UAE next month.
Hussain Hussam Darwish, a Dubai-based Omani adventurer, who said he introduced the concept of trekking with dogs in the UAE through the ‘Human and K9 Ultimate Challenge’ in 2015, has come up with Canicross that will let participants to either run or trek for 6km with their dogs.
The Dubai Canicross aims to “stimulate the body and mind of dogs and their owners and strengthen their bond,” said Darwish, who founded HK9 that conducts licensed outdoor activities for humans and their K9 companions.
“This racing competition is happening for the first time in this region. It is becoming very popular in the European countries. We are very excited as we have already got around 30 registrations,” he told Gulf News.
Though there are prizes for the first three winners, the event also lets people to participate just for fun as well.
“If some don’t want to compete, it is okay,” said Darwish.
He said registered participants had started practising for the race. “Yeah – people are running by themselves. We have been taking people for trekking also. That is a trekking adventure. That also helps.”
When and where
The Canicross event will take place on February 12 in Dubai’s Hatta region.
When six legs and two hearts form one team for racing, the bond between the man and his K9 companion is expected to grow stronger, said Darwish, who is also the organising marshal of ‘The Human and K9 Ultimate Challenge’.
“HK9 has been helping dogs and owners explore the wilderness of the UAE off-the-beaten track since 2015. But years before that we had started doing it ourselves,” he said.
Darwish along with his K9 companion Chaka have mastered the challenge of hiking in the wadis and mountains of the UAE, and even exploring further into Oman along with his main hiking buddies Matt Wilson and Barry Lee Cummings.
“So when we go out on the trails we see how happier and more relaxed our dogs become after each adventure. This team work is quite stimulating and really rewarding. It is when we experienced it that we started doing it for other people,” Darwish said.
A registration fee of Dh190 is taken for the Canicross race while Dh185 is charged for the trek. Participants in both will receive goody bags.