U.S. Canine Biathlon® Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In Community Outreach, Biathlon By Laura Smoots / April 14, 2016

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

A1: The U.S. Canine Biathlon is AMK9’s annual event and fun day, where dog owner, or dog handler & canine partner come together to test their bond and stamina over a tough 5k 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 May 21, 2016, Anniston, Alabama…one day only, with a limited number of registrations available. Pre Pasta Party (day before) and After “Wing” Party, to thank Staff.

Q3: WHERE IS THE RACE?

A3: 265 Rucker Street, Anniston AL 36205 (on the old Fort McClellan base)

Q4: What is the start time and schedule of events on race day?  

A4: Raceday timeline included below. All times are in Central Time:

Registration 06:30 am ‐ 08:30 am

Course Brief 08:45 am

First Runners 09:00 am

First Canine Team 09:30 am

Q5: HOW DO I GET THERE?

A5: 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 Bear RIGHT (West) onto Airport Blvd 0.5
 Continue (North‐East) on Terminal Return Rd 0.1 Bear RIGHT (South‐West) onto Camp Creek Pky (SW) 12.3   Continue (North‐West) on Thornton Rd 3.1
 Continue (North) on SR‐6 [Thornton Rd] 0.1
 Bear LEFT (West) onto Local road(s) < 0.1 Continue (West) on Ramp 0.3
  Merge onto I‐20 [SR‐402] (West) 73.0
 Entering Alabama
 At I‐20 Exit 185, turn RIGHT (North‐East) onto SR‐21 [S Quintard Ave] 0.4   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.

Q6: WHAT DO YOU WIN?

A6: Besides bragging rights….All those that complete the challenging course receive a medal and t‐shirt. Additionally, there are Male & Female, 1st 2nd & 3rd prizes in each of these categories: Civilian, Police and Military. This year we will also present awards to children to include the most courageous award.   The winning times are based on a time handicap system.  Our system will deducts 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.

Q7: MY CHILD WANTS TO RACE, WHAT’S THE AGE LIMIT?

A7: Your child must be 12 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.

Q8: WHERE DO I PICKUP MY RACE PACKET?

A8: We have a pre‐race Pasta Party the day before the race at the Hampton Inn Hotel ‐ Jacksonville AL.  You will receive an email with instructions and directions.    If you’re not planning to pick up your package a day early, please arrive a minimum of 1 hour before the course brief 08:45am CST on race day.  Come to the big tent marked Race Packet Pickup to sign in and pick up your packet. You’ll need to pin your race bib to your shirt, shorts, or costume, check your change of clothes at the complimentary Bag Check Tent, and still have time to get in line to race.   You must bring a photo ID to pick up your packet. NO EXCEPTIONS!  You must pick up the packet at the race or at packet pick up, as we don’t mail packets.

Q9: ARE STROLLERS ALLOWED ON THE COURSE?

A9: 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!

Q10: TELL ME ABOUT THE FESTIVAL AREA?

A10: We’ll have food and beer beginning 30 minutes after the first horde runs and ending at approximately 2 hours after the last horde storms the course.  Awards will be given out approximately 1pm – 2pm CST.

Q11: I DON’T LIKE THE INTERNET, CAN I REGISTER BY MAIL OR TELEPHONE?

A11: Sorry, we feel your pain but to keep our record correct, it’s the Internet or race day (which cost $10 more).  But, it’s safe and painless, and if you’re having problems, send us a note at: lsmoots@amk9.com and we’ll help you figure it out.

Q12: SPEAKING OF RACE CHIPS, WHAT IS THAT?

A12: Timing chips are small radio frequency gizmos that is on the back of your bib 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….

Q13: ARE THERE TEAM REGISTRATIONS?

A13: You’re welcome to form a tribe, and race as a group against another “tribe.”   Office challenges, fraternity and sorority challenges, clubs and even family feuds are encouraged!  At this time we do not have set awards for teams.

Q14: WHERE DO I PARK?

A14: There will be parking at the event and carpooling is highly encouraged!  You can park at AMK9 Academy (at the race) car park. Staff will guide you in come race day.

Q15: WHAT HAPPENS IF IT RAINS?

A15: 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 15+ water obstacles, there is only one man in history that could remain dry and he walked on water.

Q16: I SIGNED UP BUT CAN’T ATTEND, CAN I GET A REFUND?

A16: Sorry, no refunds under any circumstances. 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. You may also transfer your registration to someone else before May 16, 2016. Or send an email to lsmoots@amk9.com and we can comp you a registration for the 2017 event

Q17: WHAT KIND OF WATER/HYDRATING STATIONS ARE THERE?

A17: 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….

Q18: WILL I HAVE TO SWIM ACROSS ANY LARGE BODY OF WATER?

A18: 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.

Q19: IS THE BIATHLON CHALLENGE SAFE?

A19: 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.  

Q20: WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

A20: “I can do anything” attitude. 1. A change of clothes – We’ll have hoses to rinse off 2. Cash for Biathlon Swag, extra beer, and food. 3. A garbage bag to sit on if you decide to roll with the muddy look on the way home! 4. Your ID to pick up your packet.

Q21: HOW DO I TRAIN FOR THE U.S. CANINE BIATHLON?

A21: 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!

Q22: WHAT KIND OF PERSON TAKES ON THE U.S. CANINE BIATHLON?

A22:  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.  

Q23: WHAT DO I WEAR?

A23: 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.

Q24: HOW LONG IS THE COURSE?

A24: We like to change up the course every year.  Last year the Biathlon Course was approximately 3.5 miles.

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