Today we talk to Mike Cooke - Mike retired from GMP in May 2021 having got 'Doris' his German Wire Haired Pointer for his 50th Birthday. His intention was to spend more time running with a dog he knew would be happy to join him. Little did he realise just how much she wants to be outdoors. He joined World League Canicross last year as he was new to the sport and much prefers trail running than on the roads now - Mike  says "it's far better for the mind and the body!". He had not raced for a couple of years and tried virtual racing last year - Mike was runner-up in last year's LCC Cup, being narrowly edged by the defending champion ! Mike recalls, "It was tough to say the least!".


Q1. What do you like about Canicross ?

A1. I love how Doris has taken to it. She’s ball mad and at first I thought she wouldn’t take to running in a harness without chasing a ball. She still tries to avoid it when she sees the harness coming out but soon overcomes that and pulls me out of the gate! I love the whole idea of WLC and the dedication of the organisers to keep us all updated and inspired. A great community - many of who I now follow on Strava!

Q2. What don't you like about Canicross ?

A2. Despite seeing so many people running with dogs where I live - the lack of local races in Manchester / Lancashire. I’d really like to see how Doris takes to racing in the company of other dogs. I also don’t enjoy that sickly nervous feeling you get before the start of your run on the virtual races! 😂

Q3. What are your canicross ambitions for the future ?

A3. To try and compete in a real life event. Coming runner up in our first event was special - I don’t think we will beat that to be honest!

Q4. What are your thoughts approaching our first World Cup, and competing at an international level ?

A4. Nervous but in a good way! The virtual race last year really brought back a competitive edge to my running - I ran at paces I hadn’t achieved for a few years. It’s a bigger field this year and I wouldn’t be surprised or disappointed if I went out in the first round. I know it’s going to be tough!

Q5. What strategies do you think you will use during the tournament ?

A5. Choosing the right time of day to run. Like a few others I tend to be out very early before the trails and fields get busy. Always have a warm up run before hand and carry a ball for Doris to play after we’ve finished!

Q6. What do you think the secret is to winning a knockout ?

A6. Good luck, choosing the right route and not going off too quickly!

Q7. How do you think you will prepare both mentally and physically for competing in a tough knockout competition ?

A7. Keeping injury free is a must. I try to have a sports massage every month to iron out any niggles even if I’ve not felt any! Mentally - treat each run as it comes and enjoy it whether I win or lose!