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Bethan and Daniel Fitzgerald

Bethan and Danny Fitzgerald

 - back on the winning track….winning Gold again!

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 over 5 years and have excelled in the sport ….

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/6dog) would be no more due to injury but as Danny's knee benefits from cycling he would be concentrating on the one dog bike 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 Cani-cross 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 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 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.”

Amazingly the 2016-2017 sled dog season then finished with GOLD!

Bethan said, “Danny decided to treat ‘the oldies’ to a 6 dog race at the New Year’s race at Thetford ….. and they ran like 3 year olds and won Gold!

Charlie ran like a dream pulling the bike and was just pipped into second place by a younger dog, so the next weekend Danny raced Charlie again on the bike at the prestigious BSSF British Championships round one and two race.  The great combination brought home a Gold and were the second fastest team of the whole weekend – the old boy still has it!” 

Beth went on, “Charlie will be 7 years old this year and thankfully is still looking amazing.  Looking after our dogs is our priority especially as most are at senior status this year.

A lifetime of good nutrition and training helps the longevity of the dog, especially for the larger breeds. A fine balance of the right amount of energy in their complete diet is key for growth and maintenance. Thanks CSJ for providing the best nutrition for our dogs!” 

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 gained 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. 

Results:

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 started 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……..BUT now they’re back on track in Bike-Jor and already winning Gold in 2018!

And the wins continue – at March 2019 here’s news of the season so far....

The first of the British Championship series was at the beautiful Scottish venue of Eagle Brae. The weather was kind with cold temperatures but not too cold!
The dogs were all on good form and Danny and Bethan only had an hour and a half to travel so plenty of time to set up camp.

Danny was out first with ‘good old Charlie’ who is nearly 8 years old and still Danny’s choice of dog. They took home Gold, it wasn’t easy but Bethan says she always knows that both dog and human puts100% into the race.

Bethan had the privilege to enter the one dog scooter with Vlad, their 3 year old and the two dog scooter with Jonah (1 year old) and Harry (Charlie’s brother). They did her proud, it was a flat trail but grassy so harder to get speed, there was some great meandering turns and even a bridge! There was great competition with lots of amazing dogs and mushers and Bethan brought home a Bronze in the 2 dog and Gold in the 1 dog.

The next British Championship race was in Rendalsham in England, unfortunately Bethan was working so couldn’t make it but Danny worked hard and raced all the dogs. He managed to keep his title of British Champion with Charlie boy, then a great Second place with Vlad on the scooter and a Third with Jonah and Harry on the scooter too. So that now means Charlie is now British Champion yet again for the 6th year in a row!

The couple have competed in 2 Sled Dog Association of Scotland races and there are two more to go. This time Danny has been racing a 4 dog team and one dog bike, again bringing home big shiny Gold medals to display.

Danny and Bethan unfortunately didn’t manage to follow through with plans of competing at the European Championships in Sweden this season, it was a last minute decision (day before leaving) which was very disappointing but unfortunately one of the dogs had a minor injury which was resolving but they couldn’t chance it and push the dog too hard.

Bethan says, “We are so proud of our dogs, always a joy to be with and I’m loving my oldies too who are still looking like they can run just as fast and strong as they used to but they are living the retired life now!

We have always fed CP30 all year, in the winter, the dogs can use up a lot of calories with all the running and the cold weather so we add in salmon oil for the extra fat. That is all they get as that is all they need! Even the old dogs who are 10 years old (4 of them) are on CP30, I’ve tried other diets as I was thinking maybe they don’t need a working diet but I’ve never been convinced, CP30 suits them the best. The way I judge a good diet is by their coat’s condition, body condition score and their poos!

So a few more races to go before hanging up the harnesses for the summer. Time to recuperate and have lots of fun. The 2019/2020 season will be exciting, will Charlie keep his title of British Champ? Will we finally get to go abroad? All I know is we will have fun.”

Contact details: rafiki_beth@yahoo.co.uk

 

Bethen & Danny 1

Bethen & Danny 1

Bethen & Danny 2

Bethen & Danny 2

Bethen & Danny 3

Bethen & Danny 3

Bethen & Danny 4

Bethen & Danny 4

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