Tips for Participation in Mass Start Races

By Lulie Williams

  • The first thing that I‘ve learned is that you don’t need to be the first out.  If you have racers ahead of you, you’ve got a chase and can quickly catch up to the dog in front of you. 
  • Do not use your poles at the start, and don’t use them if you’re in a mass of dogs.  It is so easy for a dog to get stabbed in the foot or the eye.  We have had a foot stabbed at Willow, and everybody feels bad about it.
  • Don’t try to pass a mass of dogs all at once.  If everybody will get lined out one after another, the faster dogs can pass one dog at a time and the slower dogs can have a good chasse.  Talk to the other racers.  and remember, don’t use your poles if you’re getting passed. Assist the passer in getting beyond you as quickly as possible If you’re passing, be very careful where you plant your poles.
  • If you are passed, let the other dog get a little ahead before you start after him.  This gives the leading dog a chance.  If it’s obvious, after a while, that the dog ahead won’t lead, and you think yours will, ask to give the lead a try.  and vice versa, the dog now behind should stay well back for long enough for the new leader to get ahead.  This can be difficult in a mass start, because it’s up for grabs as to who is the fastest dog.  But remember, the chase is easiest, and you can win at the last minute, by passing the dog in front who has given you a free ride…..