First-Ever ‘Canicross’ Comes to UAE: Dogs and Owners Prepare for 6km Race and Hike

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Dubai: Dozens of dog owners are gearing up to take part in what would be the first-ever ‘Canicross’, a cross-country running sport with dogs, to be held in the United Arab Emirates next month.

Hussain Hussam Darwish, a Dubai-based Omani adventurer who said he introduced the concept of trekking with dogs to the United Arab Emirates through the ‘Human and K9 Ultimate Challenge’ in 2015, offered Canicross which will allow participants to run or trek for 6 km 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 which organizes licensed outdoor activities for humans and their K9 companions. .

“This racing competition is taking place for the first time in this region. It is becoming very popular in European countries. We are very excited as we already have around 30 registrations,” he told Gulf News.

While there are prizes for the top three winners, the event also allows people to participate just for fun.

“If some don’t want to compete, that’s okay,” Darwish said.

He said registered participants have started training for the race. “Yeah – people run on their own. We also took people trekking. It is a trekking adventure. It also helps.

When and where

The Canicross event will take place on February 12 in the Hatta region of Dubai.

When six legs and two hearts form a team for the race, the bond between the human and his K9 mate should grow stronger, said Darwish, who is also the organizing marshal for “The Human and K9 Ultimate Challenge.”

“HK9 has been helping dogs and owners explore the UAE’s wilderness off the beaten path since 2015. But years before, we started doing it ourselves,” he said.

Darwish and fellow K9 Chaka have mastered the challenge of hiking the wadis and mountains of the United Arab Emirates, and even exploring further Oman with top hiking buddies Matt Wilson and Barry Lee Cummings.

“So when we get out on the trails, we see how much happier and more relaxed our dogs become after every adventure. This teamwork is quite stimulating and truly rewarding. It was when we experienced it that we started doing it for other people,” Darwish said.

A registration fee of 190 Dh is levied for the Canicross race while 185 Dh is charged for the trek. Participants in both will receive goody bags.

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