Canicross Information

Canicross/Leashed Dog Division

We are excited to bring the sport of Canicross to Run The Ritter. We are working collaboratively with experts in the sport that will assist with the check-in process for the Canicross/leashed dog division to ensure the right equipment is being used for the safety of the dog and human. It is our hope that offering this sport at our event will aid in the education of what Canicross is and for those that run their dogs with a leash, to learn more about this dog powered sport.

At the current time we are limiting entries to 50 registrants for the first year of this added event. The Canicross division will run first in a separate wave(s) as needed with a short time between the next wave(s) of the leashed dog run wave. There will be stipulations that will need to be understood by all humans regarding being responsible for updated vaccinations on the dogs, having the right type of leash and length and picking up any dog waste on site and during the race. Waste disposal units will be provided on-site and on the course for humans to dispose of their collected dog waste and water will be provided for the dogs before the start and at the finish.

Run the Ritter Canicross and Leashed Dog 3 mile event is open to human/dog teams wanting to race canicross AND those just wanting to run with their dog. For the safety of the dogs we will be doing a basic gear check at check in.

NO flexi leashes. Standard leash no more than 6’ or canicross bungee leashes ONLY. *dogs should be kept on a 4’ or less leash at all times except during racing*

NO head halters NO restrictive “no-pull” harnesses. This type of equipment is meant to inhibit the natural gate of the dog in order to stop pulling. When running, a dog’s shoulders and arms should be free to move fully.

Flat collar and a leash is OKAY

Prong collar and a leash is OKAY

Y shaped harness and a leash is OKAY Canicross gear set up is OKAY

We hope you join us! Have any questions? Feel free to reach out to and you will receive a response within 24-48 hours.

RRCA 5 Mile State Championship
Upper Midwest Trail Runners Trail Series Race

RRCA 5 mile Championship award to Top male and female in 1-40, 40-49, 50-59, and 60+ age divisions 


From bib number pick-up to medal distribution, we need your help on race day.

Courtney Kampf

Courtney Kampf came to me in the spring of 2023 with a proposal to add a Canicross division to the fall Run The Ritter which we launched in 2023. Courtney is a passionate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic participant in Canicross events with her dog(s) and we are thrilled to have her work with us in providing this amazing hybrid sport of dogs and running to our trails.

What is canicross?

Canicross is an exhilarating sport that combines the joys of running with the companionship of dogs. This sport involves a human runner and their canine partner working together as a team, connected by a specialized harness and a bungee-style leash. As the human runs, the dog assists by providing an extra boost of energy and motivation. Canicross is not only a great way to stay fit but also a fantastic way to bond with your furry friend.

Canicross vs Running With Your Dog

While running with your dog can be a rewarding activity on its own, canicross offers a unique experience that sets it apart. The key distinctions between canicross and regular running with your dog lies in the specialized equipment used and the teamwork emphasis. Canicross is a dog-powered sport.

1. Harnesses for Both: Canicross emphasizes the use of specialized harnesses for both the human and the dog. While running with your dog might involve a regular collar or leash, canicross harnesses are designed for optimal performance. The human’s waist harness evenly distributes the pulling force, reducing strain on the back, while the non-restrictive Y-shaped harness for the dog allows free and natural movement of the front legs and shoulder blades.

2. Bungee Leash: In canicross, the connection between the runner and the dog is facilitated by a bungee-style leash. This leash is designed with an elastic section that absorbs shock and ensures a smoother, less jarring experience for both partners. When running with your dog, you might use a standard leash that lacks the shock-absorbing benefits of the canicross bungee leash.

3. Hands-Free Belt: The hands-free belt used in canicross enables the human runner to maintain a natural running motion without holding onto a leash. This promotes better balance and coordination. In contrast, running with a regular leash requires the runner to actively manage the leash with their hands, potentially affecting their running form.

4. Teamwork Emphasis: Canicross places a stronger emphasis on teamwork and collaboration. The synchronized movement facilitated by the equipment encourages both partners to work together harmoniously. Canicross will often involve the dog pulling ahead of the human, it’s a dog-powered sport. In traditional running with a dog, the interaction might be more leisurely and less focused on coordinated effort.

5. Control and Safety: The specialized equipment used in canicross provides greater control over the dog’s movements. This minimizes sudden pulls and


jerks that can occur during regular running with a standard leash, enhancing both the runner’s and the dog’s safety.

Canicross is a fantastic sport that promotes physical fitness, teamwork, and the human-dog bond. It’s an enjoyable way for both you and your furry friend to lead an active lifestyle while having a blast. Remember to prioritize safety, training, and the well-being of your dog throughout your canicross journey. 

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