Race Rules

1. Definitions

2. Entry

3. Responsibility

4. Dogs

5. Equipment

6. Race Procedure

7. Violation of Rules

8. Animal Welfare Rules


1. Definitions


Age - The age of a competitor is regarded to be the same during the whole series and is the age the competitor will be on the first of May, the end of a current season. The age of a dog is the age it reaches the day of the competition it is entering.


Athlete - A person who runs, bikes or scooters a dog team


Class - A specific discipline (running, cycling, scootering) with one or two dogs that may be sub-divided by the age of the competitor


Competitor - A person who runs, bikes or scooters a dog team entered in the race.


Course - A specific, marked, route used for the purpose of racing


Event - A meeting of athletes for the purpose of competing in one event which may involve several classes over one or more consecutive days.


Finish - The point at which a race course ends


Heat - A completion of the trail, after which the ongoing timing is discontinued


Official - A person appointed by the organiser, authorized to perform, within prescribed limits, to act on their behalf


Organisation - The organisation / organiser in charge of running the event


Race - A competition in a specified class and may be comprised of one or more heats


Race Area - All designated parking areas, spectator areas, team holding areas, start/finish chutes, officiating areas, the Course and the trail areas.


Race Marshall - A person, appointed by the organiser, to enforce the rules as defined in this document and the safety of all competitors.


Start - The point at which a race course begins


Team - One or more dogs competing with an athlete


Shall - Will be construed as being imperative i.e. it has to be done


Should - Will be construed as advisory i.e. this is what we would prefer done but exceptions can be made


May - Will be construed as being permissive i.e. this can be done but is not compulsory


2. Entry

2.1 An entry for a race shall be submitted prior to the start of the race, subject to entry deadlines as determined by the organization.

2.2 The appropriate entry fee must have been paid to the organiser prior to the start of the race. Any competitor who has not paid their entry fee may be disqualified.

2.3 The organisation may reject any entry for just cause.

2.4 Entry for minor competitor (usually below 18 years old) shall be co-signed by parents or guardians. With their signature they declare that they are of the opinion that the minor athlete is capable to participate in the total event and to safely complete the trail in the applicable class. The minor will be running with a suitably sized dog for their age, and a dog that is not reactive. If an adult is running with the child, they must be in line with or behind the child, not in front dragging them. Only 1 dog per child/adult team. If the dog is deemed an unsuitable size/temperament for the kids race, the team will not be allowed to compete. 

2.5 Cancellations:

 - If you wish to cancel your entry BEFORE the official posted closing date (usually midnight Friday the weekend before the race), you will be issued with a gift card for 75% of your entry costs. The gift card will have an expiry date of 31st Aug of the current racing season.

 - If you wish to cancel your entry AFTER the closing date, but BEFORE 18.00 on the Thursday before the race, you will receive a gift card for 50% of the value of your entry.

 - AFTER 18.00 on the Thursday before the race, you will not receive any refund.

 - All gift card values and/or refunds are at the discretion of the Canicross Midlands committee.

 If you wish to cancel, please email canicrossmidlands@hotmail.com



3. Responsibility

3.1 The athlete shall not hold the organiser responsible for any claim, based on any action or non-action by the competitor, their dogs, or others acting on their behalf. The competitor shall also release the organiser from any claim resulting from injury to the competitor, their dogs, or property.

3.2 The organizer has the authority with regards to pictures and the gathering of information (within data protection limitations) on the competition and all participants involved, as well as to the use of such pictures and information for advertising, public relations or any other publicity purpose related to the competition. Any athlete that wishes their image to be restricted from use in such publications should make this known in writing to the race organisers.

3.3 Any athlete disqualified in any heat of the race is not eligible to compete in the remainder of the race event. For example if an athlete is disqualified from the first race on a Saturday morning they will not be allowed to compete in any other race that weekend. No refunds shall be given.

3.4 Athletes must read the welcome pack sent via email prior to the race. This will be your race briefing.

3.5 Athletes shall not hinder- or endanger the welfare of their dogs, the progress of the event or discredit the sled dog sports. Offenders shall be disqualified.

3.6 All competitors shall be responsible for the conduct of their dogs, their handlers, and themselves where ever they are within the entire race venue and trail. Any rude behaviour, bullying or abuse from competitors or spectators, before, during, after a race weekend or online towards marshals, the core team, fellow competitors or the land owners is strictly prohibited and will be dealt with accordingly.

3.7 Common sense and good sportsmanship shall prevail. If the Race Marshal determines that a competitor’s, handler’s or team’s conduct at any time in the race area or on the trail is detrimental to the sport/race, that team shall be disqualified.

3.8 In principle loose dogs are not allowed at the race area. However, the Race Marshal has the right to waive this rule if he is convinced that it is in the interests of the teams, and that competitors are in full control of their dogs. The latter meaning, that the loose dogs will not bother other dogs, the stakeout area, or equipment of participants or others.

3.9 All efforts will be made to provide an off lead exercise area for dogs at the race venue.


4. Dogs

4.1 Any team or dog coming to the starting line which, in the opinion of the Race Marshals, is unfit or incapable of safely completing the trail, shall be disqualified.

4.2 Any team or dog disqualified in any heat of the race is not eligible to compete in the remainder of the race.

4.3 Dogs participating in a race must be at least 12 months old and for wheeled sports  they shall not compete until 18 months old (16 months for courses 3km or shorter).

4.4 Any dog having raced in one open class of a race shall not be eligible to race in another open class on the same day but they may race in one short course race in addition to the open course.

4.5 Disease. No dog or equipment shall be brought from a kennel or home where rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis or any other contagious disease exists. If a veterinarian diagnoses any dog present in the race area to have a contagious disease, that team shall be disqualified and shall immediately leave the race area. 3 weeks must have passed, before a dog that has been exposed to possible contagion is allows to compete. In cases of Kennel Cough, Canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC), dogs affected or in the same household must not attend events for 3 weeks after the last cough is heard. 

4.6 At races, no one is allowed to perform any medical treatment to the dogs without authorisation by a veterinarian or in the case of emergency by a pet first aider.

4.7 Abuse of dogs, with or without an implement, shall be prohibited. If a competitor, in the opinion of the Race Marshal abuses a dog, that competitor shall be disqualified.

4.8 Bitches in season,  if a competitor has a bitch in season they must notify the race organiser and will only be allowed to compete with that dog at the discretion of the race organiser.

4.9 Pregnant dogs are not permitted to compete.

4.10 Reactive dogs are permitted to compete. Any competitor competing with a reactive dog must notify the race organiser. It is strongly advised to wear high visibility clothing with the words 'REACTIVE' on the back to alert passing teams. Section 5 details permissible equipment for reactive dogs.


5. Equipment

5.1 Choke chains / collars, spray collars, electric collars, slip leads, head collars, harnesses that restrict breathing while a dog is pulling are all forbidden during racing. Electric collars are forbidden on site at all times.

5.2 Dogs must not have a line attached between collar and the athelete. A line between two dogs may be attached, somethimes referred to as a 'neck line'.

5.3 Whips are forbidden.

5.4 Open basket muzzles are allowed and it is advised that reactive dogs wear yellow bandanas / use yellow lines or otherwise draw attention to their requirement for space.

5.5 A racing number for each athlete shall be display this number on the front his/her person throughout the race

5.6 The competitor should not be wearing shoes that could be dangerous for dogs. No hardened or metal studs or spikes may be used.

5.7 The competitor shall not use a personal music device on the course as this can impede their ability to hear other competitors that might be calling to overtake. Competitors failing to comply with this rule will be disqualified.

5.8 Bikejor & Scooter

5.8.1 The dog shall be attached to the bicycle by a snub line with shock absorber.

5.8.2 The bicycle/scooter shall be equipped with an efficient brake on each wheel. When on site, if you are riding your bike (with or without your dog) you MUST wear your helmet.

5.8.3 All competitors must wear a helmet approved by a national test registry.

5.8.4 Wearing gloves and body armour is recommended.

5.8.5 Eye protection (googles, glasses, visor, etc.) is strongly recommended

5.8.6 E-bikes and E-scooters are forbidden during racing.


6. Race Procedure

6.1 At the start

6.1.1 In Canicross classes, the entire team, with the competitor holding his/her dogs by the collar or the harness, shall stay behind the starting line until the start signal has been given.   

6.1.2 In scooter and bikejoring classes, the front wheel shall determine the starting point of the team and shall stay behind the starting line until the start signal has been given.        

6.1.3 The elapse time for all teams shall begin at the scheduled time of departure as displayed on the race clock.               

6.1.4 A competitor that fails to be in the starting position at their scheduled starting time or within half of the starting interval after the scheduled starting time shall be declared a late starting team, and shall receive a new starting time in its class if possible, or in a subsequent class racing on the same course. Should a dog team with a reactive dog be scheduled to start at the end of that class, then the late team may be further delayed to give that team space to compete safely.  

6.1.5 A late-starting team shall not usually be allowed to start until after the last team entered in its class has started, and after the prescribed starting interval.            

6.1.6 A team not clearing the Starting Chute (minimum distance, 30 meters) prior to the scheduled start of the next team may be disqualified but more likely they will be assisted out of the start chute and offered a re-start at the end of the class.       

6.1.7 Unless otherwise specified by the Race Marshal, assistance in the Starting Chute shall be allowed.

6.2 During the race

6.2.1 A team and athlete shall run the full course as established by the race-giving organization

6.2.2 If a team leaves the trail, the athlete shall return the team to the point at which they left the trail.

6.2.3 An athlete shall not interfere with a competing team.         

6.2.4 No one shall assist a team by wilfully pacing it.        

6.2.5 In a dual start, at the end of the chute, and whenever two trails join together, the team with the lead dog farthest ahead shall have the right of way.          

6.2.6 If a mass start is organized, all the competitors of the same class shall wait together behind the starting line holding their dog by the collar or the harness. If they cannot all stay on one line, they shall set more lines as required. Seeded competitors, if any, shall stay on the first line(s) ahead of the non-seeded competitors.               

6.2.7 Temperatures – should the race day temperature and humidity be judged by the organisers to be forecast too high for racing then the start times will be adjusted forward and this will be made known to the competitors by social media and if possible by email.

6.3 Assistance on the trail

6.3.1 All teams may receive similar assistance of any type from officials stationed at designated points along the trail as authorized by the Race Marshal.        

6.3.2 Only in case of a loose team or a team which is in clear and present danger to itself, to other teams or to persons, are officials and spectators allowed to take immediate action to secure the safety of the team.              

6.3.3 In all other cases, officials shall only act upon request of the competitor for assistance, which is limited to controlling the dog(s) or to hold the bike or scooter. The competitor shall stop the team, clearly indicate which assistance is requested, and behave respectfully towards the officials. 

6.3.4 Competitors running in the same heat may assist each other in any manner authorized by the Race Marshal.

6.4 Passing

6.4.1 If one competitor is travelling more quickly and wishes to pass the competitor in front of them they will clear shout out Passing on your then indicate which side they wish to pass, either left or right.             

6.4.2 The competitor being passed will move to the farthest point of the course to allow the faster competitor to pass them, for example if a person behind you calls passing on your left then you should move as far to the right as possible to allow the faster competitor to pass.           

6.4.3 Where the course is too narrow to pass the slower competitor should find the first available point to allow the faster competitor to pass, even if this means that the slower competitor needs to stop to allow a faster competitor to pass safely.  

6.4.4 Competitors found to be wilfully blocking a faster competitor will be disqualified. 

6.4.5 Where a faster competitor is attempting to pass a reactive dog they will stay behind until the competitor with the reactive dog informs them that it is safe to pass.

6.5 Finish

6.5.1 A team shall have finished the heat when the first member of the team, human or dog crosses the finish line.               

6.5.2 The team with the fastest total time of its class shall be declared the winner of that class. 

6.5.3 In case of equal timing, whatever the positions of the dogs the two competitors are tied and awarded equal positions with the subsequent competitor taking the next position place +1.


7. Violation of Rules

7.1 Reports by Race Officials

7.1.1 Race officials shall report rule violations immediately or directly following the race in which the violation occurred, to the Allocated Complaints Manager (ACM).

7.1.2 All verbal reports can be recorded in a written account, if deemed necessary by the ACM.

7.1.3 The ACM shall act, at their discretion, on any overt violations witnessed and reported by race officials. The ACM shall inform the reporting official(s) on his/her decision and possible further action.

7.1.4 When the ACM finds that a rules violation has occurred, they will follow the disciplinary measures outlined in 7.5

7.2 Reports by Race Contestants

7.2.1 Competitors wishing to report an alleged violation of the rules by another contestant shall notify the ACM immediately following the race in which the alleged incident occurred. Notification may initially be verbal.

7.2.2 All verbal reports shall be followed with a written report (see example of a protest form in appendix B), and given to the ACM as soon as possible after the participants race in which the alleged violation occurred.

7.2.3 Any protests must be raised on the same day they are alleged to have occurred, or before prizegiving, whichever is sooner.

7.3 Protests and Hearings

7.3.1 Any competitor implicated in a report of an alleged violation of the rules will be notified of the protest by the ACM and provided access to copies of the written protests as soon as they become available but in all cases before any hearings are conducted.

7.3.2 All hearings shall be conducted by the ACM and may also include the Race Director/Race Organiser and the committee.

7.3.3 Contestants subject to a penal reaction by the ACM may appeal, i.e. request a hearing before the Race Committee.

7.4 Disciplinary Action

7.4.1 For violation of any Regulation, the ACM shall either issue a verbal reprimand, a warning or disqualify the competitor and team from the race.

7.4.2 Decisions shall be announced as promptly as practical but no later than four (4) hours prior to the start of any ensuing races.

7.4.3 Any disciplinary action following the final race shall be acted upon prior to the prize giving.

7.4.4 In the case of drug testing, the above time schedule does not apply to allow for laboratory findings and hearings, should the latter become necessary. No disqualification or other action will be taken against any contestant for alleged drug infractions pending the results of said tests.

7.4.5 Disqualifications shall be issued in the result list. All disciplinary actions shall be mentioned in the ACM report, with reference to the violation.

7.4.6 The decisions of the ACM shall be final unless promptly appealed to the Race Committee, with respect to cases concerning a contestant’s further participation in the event.

7.5 Disciplinary Measures

7.5.1 Verbal Reprimand: for a minor rules infraction with no consequences for any participant, and being the contestant's first offence in the event.

7.5.2 Verbal Warning: for a minor or negligent infraction of the race regulations, which does not give the contestant any significant advantage and entails no significant disadvantage to his/her fellow contestants, and is not deemed detrimental to the sport. This is referred to as 'Yellow Card', and will be kept on record as such.

7.5.3 Disqualification: when the contestant intentionally, or by gross negligence, violates the race regulations, and this has given him/her an advantage, or any of his/her fellow contestants a disadvantage. This is referred to as a 'Red Card', and will be be kept on record as such. The length of the disqualification will depend on the severity of the incident, and this decision will be undertaken by the full committee

8. Animal Welfare Rules

Supplementary to the various animal welfare measures as per the rules and procedures, the following rules apply:

8.1.1 All competitors shall guarantee and be responsible for the welfare of their dogs

8.1.2 Rule offences shall be corrected immediately, with the decision that dog abuse will result in disqualification. Race Organisers and Race Marshalls shall not hesitate to report serious offenders to the ACM.

8.1.3 Any dog having raced in one class of a Long Course (approx 5km) race shall not be eligible to compete in a second of the same distance on the same day. Thus a dog will not be allowed to compete in two 5km or greater distance races on the same day. However it is permissible for a dog to be entered into a shorter distance class on the same day.

8.1.4 A dog may only be entered into a maximum of two races per day, however the total distance a dog competes in shall not exceed 8km per day and subject to the restrictions outlines in section8.1.3

8.1.5 Pulling the dog or forcing the dog to move forward by any means is strictly forbidden.

8.1.6 If a dog becomes unfit or refuses to advance for any reason, the competitor is not permitted to finish the Race.