Bethan is a full time Veterinary Surgeon and Daniel is a full time Joiner
who both successfully race their Scandinavian sled dogs in their spare time. They have fed CSJ food, salmon oil and herbs for the last 5 years and have excelled in the
Bethan won the Silver medal at the Dryland World Championships with her 4 dog team and the Gold medal on the scooter at the European Championships.
Daniel has amazingly held the title of 4 dog Scottish champion and British champion for many years and has come close to podium finishes at European and World Championships over the last 5 years.
In July 2016 CSJ received the sad news that Danny and Beth would no longer be racing due to an old knee injury but with the usual determination, they were not quitting the sport which was what they thought was their only choice, but had just changed the discipline.
Sadly racing the big dog teams (4 dog/6 dog) would be no more due to injury but as Danny’s knee benefits from cycling he would be concentrating on the one dog bike-jor from now on. Bethan would also continue to compete in the mono-discipline, the one dog scooter.
In early 2017 Beth said, “The old dogs are retired and are enjoying their walks in the forest and on the beach and the odd Canicross club run.
This year we have had a litter of 10 beautiful puppies due to popular demand. Our first litter has been showing great potential so it was silly to not produce another British litter and I love to watch them all grow and excel in what they do.”
Then in October 2017 CSJ had this fabulous news from Beth ….
“Most people have complained about the lack of warm weather this year but we have been using the cold nights to our advantage as we have managed to start training early. All the dogs have been eating our favourite kibble – CP30 splashed with some Salmon Oil and they are looking amazing as usual – even the oldies!
This year Danny has been working hard losing 5 stone and concentrating on Bike-Jor as this is the only thing his bad knee can tolerate. Charlie is now 6 years old and is looking fit and healthy and very eager to run!
The first race was at the very popular Cani-fit Experience race at Boswell Coach House. The first race is always the big test if your training and care for your dog has been good enough and Danny passed with flying colours, he flew through to first place both Saturday and Sunday!
The Boswell race by Glasgow was en route to the European Championships in Italy. Charlie and Danny shared the long ride with a friend, Vickie Pullin and her dogs and both joined 100’s of people, all wondering how they’d fare against the whole of Europe. The trail was tough and the downhill was fast, Charlie ran his heart out and Danny peddled hard which placed them high up at 16th out of 45.
Charlie is 6 years old now and still runs like a 2 year old. He looks nice and lean and bulging with muscle bulk and a shiny coat.”
The next race is in a few weeks’ time, another long journey, this time to Poland for the World Championships. Hard training for both dog and human continues!”
Here’s the full story of Bethan and Danny’s journey with their dogs…
How it all started
Bethan and Danny spent most of their lives growing up in Wales and have lived and travelled all over the World but in 2005 they both decided to settle down and get a dog and this is when their lives took a big turn in a direction that was never predicted!
Danny decided to get a Malamute puppy and Bethan got a German Wire-haired Pointer puppy. At puppy class they started talking to sled dog people and they become more and more interested in the sport, the Malamute was a natural but it took a while to get the pointer running!
In 2006 they moved to Edinburgh so that Bethan could follow her dream to become a vet. They wanted to continue with the sport so joined the Sled Dog Association of Scotland who accepts any capable breed, they were welcomed with open arms and learned so much from people like Keith Johnston, Steven Lyndsay and Shane Murray, who encouraged them to be the best and have a lot of fun doing it!
3 years later they had gained another German wire-haired pointer to make a 2 dog team for Beth and 4 Scandanavian Hounds to make a 4 dog team for Danny and by 2015 the pack had increased to 12, aged between 10 months to 11 years, all playing a very important role in the sport and the family.
From 2014 until injury stopped play in 2016:
Danny’s truly remarkable 2014-2015 season:
4 dog SDAS Champion
3 dog SDAS Champion
4 dog National Champion
Bike-jor National Champion
Silver 3 dog scooter National Championships
4th at the IFSS European Championships, Paris 6 dog class (fastest in the World) out of 35 competitors.
8th at the European Bike-jor Championships, South France out of 40 competitors
THEN … Bethan got Gold in the European Cani-cross Championships 2015
Here’s what Bethan told CSJ about the Championships…….
“The European Cani-cross championships in Scotland finally arrived, the dogs looking lean, shiny coated and full of muscle.
Danny entered the bike-jor and Bethan the scooter but which dog would they choose!
The trail was hilly and thanks to a few days of rain, had some good muddy areas, this was a test of strength and fitness for both dog and athlete!
Looking around in the start shoot, I couldn’t help but look at how athletic the other dogs were and how long legged the human athletes were! But not to worry, our dogs were looking just as good, they have been eating CP30, go-on herbs and storm canis. The trail was hard with steep hills but our superstar, Charlie pulled like a train, he is known as the mud monster so I had to just let go of the brakes and go for it!!!!”
The whole weekend was “awesome” as we all put it! The British pulled together to put on a fabulous event and a huge big thanks to CSJ too for the sponsorship.
Charlie and I managed to storm way ahead of the competition and brought home Gold!!!! Danny chose our “big” Harry as his bike dog and managed a fantastic 7th place, the bike men’s class is the most popular and competitive of all.”
AND then… Fitzgeralds’ team effort gains Silver in World Championships 2015!!
Here’s what Bethan and Danny told CSJ:
“Team effort from the Fitzgerald family wins a Silver in the World Championships!!
Danny and Beth recently embarked on a mammoth trip, flying their dogs to Canada to compete at the dry-land World Championships. Alongside four other Team mates, they all managed to work together to complete the almost impossible task of getting dogs and equipment from A to B and keep them well hydrated, fed and supple!
The dogs took everything thing in their stride, after a few days of jet-lag and TLC, they performed better than they ever have done. Beth said “I had tears of pride for my dogs in my eyes for most of the time!!!”
They stayed on the same feeding regime and they kept their weights and condition well. One of the dogs ran 2 days with Danny on the bike and then in Beth’s 4 dog team with no sign of tiredness. Supplements like Storm Canis have a huge role in keeping the muscles fresh and go on herbs gets the maximum energy out of them.
Bethan won silver, the title of “second fastest 4 dog team in the World!” She says “I’m so proud of my dogs, I had two 7 year olds and two 5 year olds, one of which had already ran the previous two days, they averaged over 21mph, words can not describe the feeling of pride for my dogs”.
Daniel took 8th place on the bike, this was an fantastic result as this class had some amazing biking athletes and dogs who have the advantage of training full time.
Beth says “it’s all about what you do with your dogs months before the race, the right food, supplements and of course training. There is no other dog sport that asks a dog to work as hard as he/she can for just the fun of it”.
At home, Bethan and Danny’s two 10 week old puppies are looking amazing with their shiny coats, producing perfect poops and are very big and chunky! They were fed CP27 and then changed onto CP30. Danny says “They prefer it dry and finish the bowl every time. We are very excited to see how they turn out for our future races – next year, the European Championships will be held in England”.
Thanks to CSJ and Storm Canis for their support, without them, silver may have not been achievable.”
Finishing 2015 on a high!!
In their last race of 2015 in December Bethan and Danny both finished on a high!
- Danny took home Gold with his 4 dog team, achieving the fastest time of the whole rally!
- Beth also won Gold with her two dogs too, Bryn and Gimli!
Beth told CSJ, “The trails were muddy, hilly and fun. Half the trail was fast but the other half was a slow incline with so much mud so it was hard for the musher to get grip. It all came down to the dogs’ strength and fitness to get the Gold and they did us proud one more time.
Now it’s time for a little rest and back to full training for next month. The dogs are doing fantastic, getting CP30, Go On herbs, Storm and salmon oil. Salmon oil is great in the winter to keep their coats and skin in top condition for fending off the mud and keeping them warm.”
2016 starts with 5 races in 5 weeks……….
Bethan’s two dog team and Danny’s four dog team achieved:
Silver at the World Championships
Gold in the European Championships
Gold in the National Championships
2 Golds in the Scottish Championships
Danny won every one of his races and Bethan’s two dog team won every race except one due to an injury!
Then in July 2016 CSJ received that awful news that Danny and Beth would no longer be racing.
Now at October 2017 they’re back on track in Bike-Jor with the great news at the beginning of this tale
CSJ is delighted for them and wishing them both well for the trip to Poland for the World Championships – watch this space, their story continues…
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