Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

U.S. Canine Biathlon® Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 2018-06-08T16:56:27+00:00

Q1: WHAT IS THE U.S. CANINE BIATHLON?

A1: The U.S. Canine Biathlon is VWK9’s annual event and fun weekend, where dog owner or dog handler & canine partner come together to test their bond and stamina over a tough 4-mile course with numerous obstacles, water, puzzles, and challenges. Some people call it the hardest canine race you’ll ever freaking love!

Q2: WHEN IS THE RACE?

A2: The U.S. Canine Biathlon® is Saturday, May 18, 2019 and Sunday, May 19, 2019 in Anniston, Alabama, with a limited number of registrations available. There is an early packet pickup Friday evening to include welcome refreshments, beer, and light entertainment.

Only official race times recorded on Saturday will be counted towards the Saturday evening awards ceremony. Sunday times will be available for your bragging rights, and of course, all racers will receive their race T-shirt and medal regardless of their race day.

Q3: ARE MEAL TICKETS PROVIDED WITH RUNNER REGISTRATION?

A3: Each runner will receive one meal ticket with their race packet. Additional meals can be purchased for runners, family, and friends directly from the food vendors. Breakfast will be available Sunday morning to help recover from the Saturday evening concert and free bar, but you must highlight attending the concert and breakfast in your registration sign-up.

Q4: CAN I BRING MY CAMPER AND CAMP ON SITE?

A4: Yes, we will to have a RV & Tent park area for those that would like to camp (for a fee) near the biathlon race area and evening concert. Please purchase a tent or RV space from the biathlon camping store in RunSignUp here.

If you have special camping requests, please email us: phammond@vwk9.org.

Q5: WILL CAMPING INCLUDE ANY AMENITIES?

A5: Overnight campers should plan for “dry camping”. You should plan to bring your own sources of electricity and water as resources will be limited. There will be porta potties, porta showers and hosing off area near the race course.There is a nearby gym/aquatic/leisure center approximately 600 yards from main event area at discounted Biathlon user rates.

Q6: WHAT IS THE SUNDAY EVENT? CAN I RUN ON SUNDAY?

A6: Sunday is now called Sunday Funday! And yes, we’ll have biathlon running on Sunday morning – each running receiving an official time and a medal. We encourage Sunday runners and runners in groups to come out and have a fun time. Our competitive runners will run and receive awards on Saturday, and Sunday’s racing will include those that are here for an adventure but are not necessarily in top-prize contention. Sunday runners will still receive their race time. The Sunday running will start around 8:45 AM and run until 12:00 PM noon CST.

If the Sunday morning corrals fill up, we will consider adding additional hour-long corrals on Sunday afternoon.

Q7: IS THERE AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE FOR THE SATURDAY & SUNDAY EVENTS FOR SPECTATORS?

A7: Biathlon racing is free and open to the public up to 6:30 PM on Saturday, May 18th and all day Sunday, May 19th. Additional food can be purchased directly from our food vendors. Nightly entertainment may be restricted by wristband access and additional wristbands can be purchased at the biathlon site from at an additional fee. All Biathlon competitors will receive a Biathlon wristband.

Q8: WHERE IS THE RACE?

A8:265 Rucker Street, Anniston AL 36205 (on the old Fort McClellan base)

Q9: WHAT IS THE START TIME AND SCHEDULE OF EVENTS ON FRIDAY EVENING &SATURDAY, MAY 18TH?

A9:

FRIDAY, May 17th
05:00 PM to 8:00 PM – Early Race Packet Pick Up
06:00 PM – 10:00 PM – Early Meet & Greet, Beer Tent, Live Light Entertainment

SATURDAY, May 18th
Raceday timeline included below. All times are in Central Time:
07:00 AM –12:00 PM – Packet Pickup
08:30AM –AM Course Safety Brief
08:45 AM –Runners Only (without dogs)
09:00 AM – 9:30 AM–Serious Competitors Only – with dogs
09:30 AM – 11:00 AM – Individual Runners with dogs (non-groups)
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM – Groups of 4 or more
01:00 PM – 1:30 PM – Serious Competitors Only – with dogs
01:30 PM – 3:00 PM – Individual Runners with dogs (non-groups)
03:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Groups of 4 or more
06:30 PM – Awards Ceremony
07:30 PM – 11:30 PM – Live Concert & Entertainment

Q10: WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FOR SUNDAY, MAY 19TH?

A10: Sunday is now Sunday Funday and any competitors that race on Sunday are not in the running for a top award. Sunday Funday Runners will receive an official time, T-Shirt, and medal.

Timeline included below. All times are in Central Time:
07:30 AM –9:30 AM – Packet Pickup
07:30 AM – 9:30 AM – Breakfast (for those that highlight in sign-up)
08:30AM – AM Course Safety Brief
08:45 AM – 9:00 AM – Runners Only (without dogs)
09:00 AM – 10:00 AM– Individual Runners with dogs (non-groups)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Groups of 4 or more

*More times may be added to Sunday afternoon if the Sunday morning corrals fill up.

Q11: HOW DO I GET THERE?

A11: If you are arriving from Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, please follow these driving directions:

Take I-20 West from Airport, which you can get to via I-285 N/W or by Camp Creek Parkway as described in the directions taken from Map Quest pasted below.
Start: Depart Hartsfield International Arpt, Atlanta, GA 30320 on S Terminal Pky [Hartsfield International Airport] (East) 0.9

1: Bear RIGHT (West) onto Airport Blvd 0.5
2: Continue (North-East) on Terminal Return Rd 0.1
3: Bear RIGHT (South-West) onto Camp Creek Pky (SW) 12.3
4: Continue (North-West) on Thornton Rd 3.1
5: Continue (North) on SR-6 [Thornton Rd] 0.1
6: Bear LEFT (West) onto Local road(s) < 0.1
7: Continue (West) on Ramp 0.3
8: Merge onto I-20 [SR-402] (West) 73.0
9: Entering Alabama
10: At I-20 Exit 185, turn RIGHT (North-East) onto SR-21 [S Quintard Ave] 0.4
11: Bear LEFT (North) onto US-431 [SR-1] 3.7

If arriving from Birmingham, Alabama:

Follow the I-20 signs when departing the airport and take I-20 East. You will be on I-20 East for approximately 75 miles. Take the first Oxford/Anniston exit and follow the directions below to get to Ft. McClellan.

Q12: WHAT DO YOU WIN?

A12: Besides bragging rights….All those that complete the challenging course receive a medal, t-shirt, and an official biathlon time.

Competitors that run on Saturday are automatically eligible for prizes. There are 1st 2nd & 3rd prizes in each of these categories:
• Runner (without dog),
• Civilian with dog (Male & Female),
• Police with dog (Male & Female),
• Military with dog (Male & Female),
• Veteran with dog (Male & Female),
• Youth with dog (Male & Female).
• Groups will also receive an award for the 4 fastest times on the team, which will be 1st, 2nd& 3rd place Trophies, rather than medals.
• This year we are adding the category for a top SAR team.
• Spot Prize – Dirtiest Dog
• Spot Prize – Most fun Group
• Directors Award for Determination

The winning times are based on a time handicap system. Our system will deduct 15 seconds from your overall time for every year you are over 21 years of age. For every year your canine is over 2 years old you receive a 30 second deduction. Ages are checked.

Q13: MY CHILD WANTS TO RACE, WHAT’S THE AGE LIMIT?

A13: Your child must be 6 years old on or before the day of the Challenge. Anyone under 18 must have their parent or guardian present to sign the form in person. The maximum age limit is 100 years. Anyone that between 6 and 10 years of age MUST be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or responsible adult along the course. Anyone outside these ages must get special permission from Event organizers, rarely given!

Q14: WHERE DO I PICKUP MY RACE PACKET?

A14: Early packet pickup will occur on Friday, May 17th at the biathlon site. We’ll have some light entertainment on the biathlon stage.

On Saturday, May 18th we’ll have pre-race packet pickupat registration area starting at 7:00 AM and continuing through 12 noon. A photo ID will be required to verify age and entry bracket (Military, Law Enforcement, Veteran).

You’ll need to wear your timing chip (ankle bracelet), check your change of clothes at the complimentaryBag Check Tent, and still have time to get in line to race. You must pick up the packet at the race, we don’t mail packets.

Q15: ARE STROLLERS ALLOWED ON THE COURSE?

A15: No wheeled conveyances or pets other than canines of any kind are allowed on the course, including (but not limited to) cats, mice, parrots, ferrets, gerbils, snakes or lizards. You can bring your stroller into the spectator area, but no pets please!

Q16: TELL ME ABOUT THE PAVILION AREA?

A16: We’ll have food and beer as soon as the first runner crosses the finish lineand ending at late into the evening. There is music and entertainment all day with a band closing out on Saturday night. There are Canine equipment and Specialist Vendors, a Children’s Play Area, and much more. There will be portable showers and rest rooms available.

Awards will be given out approximately 6:30 PMon Saturday, May 18, 2019. Runners that run on Sunday will not be considered for top prizes. We hope all will join us and even roll on with us into our Saturday Evening Concert.

Q17: I DON’T LIKE THE INTERNET, CAN I REGISTER BY MAIL OR TELEPHONE?

A17: Sorry, we feel your pain but to keep our record correct, it’s Internet only registration. But, it’s safe and painless, and if you’re having problems, send us a note at:

lsmoots@point-broadband.com and we’ll help you figure it out.

Q18: SPEAKING OF RACE CHIPS, WHAT IS THAT?

A18: Timing chips are small radio frequency gizmos that is on your ankle bracelet and activates when you cross the start line and send a computer your ending time when you cross the finish line. If you believe in government conspiracies you don’t have to wear one, but if you don’t, there’s no way to know how long it took you to complete the course. Of course that also means the CIA won’t know how long it took you either, which might be a good thing… …we’re just saying….

Q19: ARE THERE TEAM REGISTRATIONS?

A19: You’re welcome to form a team, and race as a group against another “team.” Office challenges, fraternity and sorority challenges, clubs and even family feuds are encouraged! We will give a group trophy to the team with the best 4 times for a combined average race time. If you are not trying to join a team of 4, but would like to run with another person – PLEASE make sure you register in the same half hour of the day.

Team sizes range from 4-40 people. If you are creating a team of 4 or more, you will need to have all of the registration details for at least 4 of the runners.  This will include but isn’t limited to: First / Last Name, Date of Birth, Address, Phone number, Email address, Dog’s name, Dog’s Age on Race Day, Fun Fact About Dog, Emergency Contact, T-Shirt Size). Team captains that create the “teams” will need to communicate the team name, password, and selected “Start Time” to others that join the group. All runners on a team will run in the team captain’s selected start time.

Q20: WHAT TIME DO THE GROUPS RUN THE COURSE?

A20: Groups are running on Saturday morning from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Saturday afternoon from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM and again on Sunday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (noon). When you register just select one of these group time spots, designate a team name, password, and begin adding 3 other participants. Each group will be given a 4-minute start time to start their race regardless of the number of participants.

If you are creating a team of 4 or more, you will need to have all of the registration details for at least 4 of the runners. This will include but isn’t limited to: First / Last Name, Date of Birth, Address, Phone number, Email address, Dog’s name, Dog’s Age on Race Day, Fun Fact About Dog, Emergency Contact, T-Shirt Size). Team captains that create the “teams” will need to communicate the team name, password, and selected “Start Time” to others that join the group. All runners on a team will run in the team captain’s selected start time.

If you need assistance please send an email to lsmoots@point-broadband.com and we’ll help you figure it out.

Q21: HOW CAN I SET UP A GROUP?

A21: During registration, you will be asked if you are forming a group. Simply enter the name of the group, enter a password you can remember, and select the start time for your group. You’ll then need to add at least 3 other team members (in addition to yourself) to this registration to reserve your group time. Once you’ve added your group of 4 and paid for your time spot, simply share the group name, group password, and corral time/start time with the other members of your group so they can add themselves to your group when they register. All groups must run at the same time. No exceptions.

If you are creating a team of 4 or more, you will need to have all of the registration details for at least 4 of the runners. This will include but isn’t limited to: First / Last Name, Date of Birth, Address, Phone number, Email address, Dog’s name, Dog’s Age on Race Day, Fun Fact About Dog, Emergency Contact, T-Shirt Size). Team captains that create the “teams” will need to communicate the team name, password, and selected “Start Time” to others that join the group. If a runner selects a different start time than the team captain, they will be moved to the team captain’s time spot.

Q22: HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN I HAVE IN MY GROUP?

A22: Between 4 and 40 people.

Q23: DOES EVERYONE IN MY GROUP HAVE TO HAVE A DOG, OR CAN SOME HAVE DOGS AND SOME RUN WITHOUT A DOG?

A23: Groups can consist of runners with dogs and runners without dogs. Minimum of Four dogs per team of 4 or more to be considered for a group prize. Only the top 4 runners with registered dogs will be counted towards Group Prizes.

All dogs and persons within a single group must get along.

Q24: WHERE DO I PARK?

A24: There will be parking at the event and carpooling is highly encouraged! You can park at VWK9 Academy (at the race) car park. Staff will guide you in come race day.

For those bringing RV`s and Tents, you will be directed to the special fun parking area close to the event

Q25: WHAT HAPPENS IF IT RAINS?

A25: You get wet. I mean, seriously, this isn’t NASCAR, we don’t stop and dry out the course. A little (or a lot) of rain just makes it more of a challenge. There are 20+ water obstacles, there is only one man in history that could remain dry and he walked on water.

Q26: I SIGNED UP BUT CAN’T ATTEND, CAN I GET A REFUND?

A26: Sorry, no refunds under any circumstances. No race transfers are available. If you want a friend to pick up your race packet, they must have a letter from you giving them permission and a copy of your identification.

Q27: WHAT KIND OF WATER/HYDRATING STATIONS ARE THERE?

A27: Are you kidding me? Biathloners don’t stop in the middle of challenge for refreshments!! There will be multiple tables with water along the course (most for your canine, who we care more about). However, you will lose style points if you have to stop and take a drink. We’re just saying….

Q28: WILL I HAVE TO SWIM ACROSS ANY LARGE BODY OF WATER?

A28: If there is water that is deeper than 5 feet, we provide an alternate route for non-swimmers, or a rope to hold onto to pull yourself across. Our race director “the mad Brit” has been known to throw in some last minute crazy water features.

Q29: IS THE BIATHLON CHALLENGE SAFE?

A29: While there are risks involved in every sporting event, we take your safety seriously and do everything we can to make this a relatively safe event. But, remember this isn’t your grandmother’s 5K and if it was easy, it wouldn’t be the U.S. Canine Biathlon®. We’ll have an ambulance with Emergency Medical Technicians for you, and a Veterinarian for your pup on-site just in case.

Q30: WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

A30:
1. “I can do anything” attitude.
2. A change of clothes – We’ll have hoses to rinse off
3. Fancy dress welcome
4. A portable kennel may be a good idea if camping / RV and staying for evening function, that way we know your dog is secure when resting / wanting a break from the festivities
5. Camping Gear if camping. This will be a dry-camping setup.
6. If camping / RV food, water, beer, toilets will be very near.
7. Dog Bowl and water
8. Dog food if staying the evening
9. Warm blankets for your dog if staying the evening
10. Have you guessed this is all about the dog yet
11. Cash for Biathlon Swag, extra beer, and food.
12. A garbage bag to sit on if you decide to roll with the muddy look on the way home!
13. Your ID to pick up your packet.
14. Knee pads / elbow pads
15. Sturdy collar/harness and leash
16. Gifts for our Mad Brit Race Director (Jack Daniels is fine) lol

Q31: HOW DO I TRAIN FOR THE U.S. CANINE BIATHLON?

A31: Seriously? We don’t give training advice. Some people come with the intention to win and train like beasts, but others who are uh…not as athletic just come to have fun and finish when they finish. We’ve found that most people who are serious runners find the toughest trails course they can and then run through mud, cross rivers, and any kind of mixed terrain. We care more about your Canine’s training and encourage nice long walks and bursts of energy. Look for obstacles to work as a team to overcome. Oh, and be sure to drink a beer when you’re through.That seems to help with motivation. Or maybe join your local gym….that helps too!

Q32: WHAT KIND OF PERSON TAKES ON THE U.S. CANINE BIATHLON?

A32: Canine Lovers. Those who are out for a fun day mostly but also the thrill seeking athletes who are not afraid to get down and dirty. Runners who are tired of the same old 5k or 10k runs. Military and hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, moms, dads, children, granddads and grandmas. In short, anyone who loves doing wacky and crazy events with the added perk of participating with your four-legged friend.

Q33: WHAT DO I WEAR?

A33: Practically anything as long as it’s in good taste. Well, actually good taste is optional, but it has to be legal and not likely to come off during the obstacles. Remember there will be lots of kids and other people who don’t want to see you naked. Other than that, costumes of all kinds are encouraged! Or, if you’d rather just run in old shoes, shorts and a t-shirt, that’s ok….we roll that way too. We’ve heard that elbow and knee pads help!

Q34: HOW LONG IS THE BIATHLON COURSE?

A34: Approximately 4 miles.

Q35: WHAT HIKING TRAILS ARE AVAILABLE?

A35: We’re going to open up several trails around the biathlon area, very similar to the trails taken for the 1000 Dog March.

Q36: WHAT HOTELS OFFER A BIATHLON DISCOUNT?

A36: Previously we have recommended the Hampton Inn-Jacksonville. However, last year the Hampton Inn-Jacksonville pulled their support and sponsorship for our event (even after our biathlon family completely sold out their hotel), so we no longer recommend that our biathloners stay there. We recommend all of the hotels in Oxford AL. Check out the hotels section of our website for the latest info and discount codes.

Q37:I’M ALL IN. WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?

A37: Spread the word, dust off you tent, walk your dog, find your old rock clothes, and prepare to enjoy a great biathlon weekend complete with live music.

Q38: I ALREADY KNOW I WILL HAVE A GREAT TIME, WHO DO I THANK?

A38: Thank the “Mad Brit” Race Director and Event Manager “Laura Smoots”, tell them how young they look when you see them, and bring them gifts.

Q39: I NEED TO SWAP DOGS. IS THERE AN EASY WAY TO DO THIS IN RUNSIGNUP?

A:39: Yes! Simply log back into your registration via RunSignUp and edit your registration details.

Q40: HOW DO I SIGN UP TO RUN A SECOND TIME?

A40: First of all, you are really impressed with your stamina! Secondly, you can either add a second registration during the sign-up process or add one later on by logging back into your registration. Simply add the “Add’l Saturday Competitive option” or “Add’l Sunday Funday option” entry when you check out.

Q41: ARE YOU REALLY MAKING ME PAY FOR THREE OTHER PEOPLE IN ORDER TO CREATE A GROUP? HOW DO YOU SUGGEST I GET PAID BACK?

A41: First of all – you’re a great friend/family member to purchase a biathlon registration for someone else!
Secondly, there are several third-party apps that can help you settle up with members of your group. In addition to sending check or cash to your group member, we recommend the Cash App, PayPal, and Venmo app as alternative methods of sending funds.

Q42: I WANT TO RUN WITH THE SERIOUS COMPETITORS. HOW DO I DO THIS? 

A42: If you finished the 2017 or 2018 U.S. Canine Biathlon in under 50 minutes, you are eligible to race during this time. Simply select this option during the registration process. We will be checking each entry for previous biathlon finish times for the 2017 or 2018 years. Biathlon management staff has the right to move any runner that does not meet the minimum criteria out of the serious competitors time spots and into another time that is available.

***Don’t forget to help us get Biathlon Sponsors; Event or Vendors. They can get in touch with the Race Director phammond@vwk9.org