Tawney picks herself up to clinch European gold

Susie Tawney and Rivelin claimed gold at the European Canicross Federation Championships in the Czech Republic. Picture submitted
Susie Tawney and Rivelin claimed gold at the European Canicross Federation Championships in the Czech Republic. Picture submitted
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Leamington C&AC athlete Susie Tawney survived a heavy fall on her opening run to win gold for Great Britain at the European Canicross Federation (ECF) Canicross, Bikejor and Scootering Championships in the Czech Republic.

Competing in the Master Women Veterans II category with German Shorthaired Pointer Rivelin, Tawney took a tumble on the first steep descent before picking herself up to clock a time of 9min 0.91sec.

The run gave her close to a 24-second advantage over second-placed Swiss Martina Schmid and she extended that on day two on the longer course, finishing in 21:29.34 to claim gold by a minute-and-a-half.

However, despite her victory she said the course was not for the faint-hearted.

“It was the toughest course we have ever competed on - long uphills and steep downhills, “ said Tawney. “We joked when we walked the course that they had strapped mattresses on to several of the trees in case of crashes!

“I think they had maybe filled in some ruts with hardcore on the first downhill which is where I fell flat on my front.

“The hardest bit was running the same hill on the second day, followed by two further steep descents as the course was longer.

“Even with our dogs pulling, most competitors walked part of the last hill.”

Tawney’s gold was one of the five medals for Great Britain, with fellow Leamington C&AC athlete Elaine Sherwin picking up bronze in the Masters 1 category alongside Daphne after a combined time of 29:32.06.

Having moved up an age group, Sherwin’s son Jonathan finished an excellent fifth in his category.

Alan Sherwin and Goose were 16th in the Masters Men Veteran I, competing in Bikejor.