Wet, slippery & muddy! There is no better place to be than the Malpeet K9 Biathlon for a dog and handler team on a drizzly June Saturday!
Following the successful event last year, the second Malpeet K9 Biathlon took place on the 24th June at Bridgend college, Pencoed campus. The one of its kind biathlon consists of 3.5 mile cross country run including 25 obstacles which is designed to be fun and challenging for all dogs and handlers.
The Malpeet K9 Biathlon is named after the main organiser and funder of the event Malpeet K9 Academy. The dog handler training academy based in South Wales is run by company MD Simon Mallin whose dog handler career in the army gave him the idea.
‘We had an annual k9 Biathlons in the army dog unit where dog handlers competed against each other. The idea of a similar event but bringing working dog handlers and pet owners together to form a community that cares about animal wellbeing is exciting!’ said Simon.
When Simon decided to create the first ever UK K9 biathlon for civilians, he met local charity Newlink Wales, the perfect partner for this exciting event. Newlink Wales is a Cardiff based charity that helps people who are going through rehabilitation process to fall in love with life again and achieve wellbeing. In 2016 the 1st Malpeet K9 Biathlon became an annual fundraising event for Newlink Wales.
Picking up her yellow vest, a contestant told us why she entered her dog and herself in the biathlon:
‘I thought it was a fun thing to do with my dog so I entered the biathlon. We did lots of training and preparation for the biathlon. We spent a lot more time together enjoying being outdoors and now I want to keep this up because we both enjoy the quality time together and the training made me feel healthier!’
The course promised to be challenging but the biathlon is open to all teams in all shapes and sizes. All the obstacles are optional, the team can choose to go over it, under it or simply skip it! Although it’s not always the handler making the decision! K9 biathlon creates the rare bonding opportunity for the team discovering each other’s physical limit!
‘It was great to see the event supporting yellow ribbon dogs!’
If you see a Dog with a yellow ribbon, bandana or similar on the leash or on the dog, this is a dog which needs some space. We were delighted to have the team of yellow dog with its handler entering the biathlon while raising awareness for Yellow Dog UK.
While the teams enjoy the adventure of going through barriers and muddy paths, the volunteers on the other hand were doing everything they could to make sure things go according to the plan. A big proportion of the volunteers on the day were students from Bridgend college. Most of them are studying to gain direct paths to exciting new careers and some of them are Malpeet K9 Academy’s regular helpers at the detection dog training exercises standing in as drug mules. The Malpeet K9 Biathlon could not have happened without the support of Bridgend College offering the venue and volunteers on the day.
The event also brought together businesses who donated prizes and services to support the biathlon. The official sponsors are Trans K9, BJP insurance and Club Marina Tenerife donated the first raffle prize of a week holiday for two. Centric First Aid Training provided the necessary First Aid on the day to make sure all participants stay safe and well. Burns Pet Food provided its nutritious and tasty dog food as prizes. This community of business owners, employees and volunteers who gave up their own time to help achieve wellbeing is expanding and in need of new blood.
The sun came out at the award ceremony as we congratulate all teams on completing the biathlon. The trophies and medals were presented by Simon Mallin, MD of Malpeet K9 Academy and Lindsay Bruce, CEO of Newlink Wales.
The date for the 2018 biathlon has been set on 12th May, in the coming year, we hope to raise national awareness for all human and animal wellbeing for the year prompting the question of what wellbeing means to everyone. What does wellbeing mean to you? Is it to spend more time with your family? Enjoy more activities outdoors? Feeling physically and mentally healthier?
The Malpeet K9 biathlon hopes to play a key part in creating a caring community bringing people together. If you would like to be part of this community as a sponsor or volunteer, please get in touch with Malpeet K9 Academy.
More photos and videos on the day and information for 2018 ‘s biathlon can be found on the event Facebook page. We would also like you to take a look at our sponsors’ websites because the event could not have happened without their support.
Venue and volunteers: