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Leading UK Dog Sled Racer Gets Specialist Help from University Sports Experts

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A leading British dog sled racer is working with experts from the University of Worcester to help her improve her performance ahead of a major international competition.

Vickie Pullin has been undergoing physical tests with the University’s Sport and Exercise Science Institute.

Using data collected, the team tell Vickie how to train in the most effective way.

Sport Science experts established her maximum power, recovery rate and lactate threshold. This is the point at which your body produces more lactate than it can get rid of, causing the muscles to ‘burn’ and leaving the athlete unable to go on.

Vickie, of Bredon, near Tewkesbury, is the leading female sled dog racer in the UK, holding multiple top 15 World Rankings. She competes in 4 dog rig/ sled, 2 dog scooter and 1 dog bike.

She has raced for Great Britain at the European and World Championships, where she came 11th last year.

The 31-year-old will be representing her country in the IFSS (International Federation of Sledding Sports) Dog Sledding European Championships in Norfolk, running from November 18 to November 20.

A former member of the British Snowboard Cross Team, Vickie developed a love of huskies while in Canada and now has 30 dogs.

She became the first British musher to take part in the World Championships 4 dog team mass start.

“I want to be world champion, that’s the goal, that’s the dream,” said Vickie, who is also a husky expert for Channel 5’s show The Dog Rescuers.

“We’re looking at small marginal gains to try and increase my performance and to enable me to become world champion. This is an opportunity to make a difference because it’s not just the dogs that contribute.

“Biking is when I have the biggest physical input.

“The dog and I are both working as hard as we can – it’s a three-mile sprint.

“In the rigs I’m pushing with one leg and running as well. Even handling the dogs and holding on is very physically demanding.

“I think the dogs’ fitness and what they do is massive and the equipment we’re on needs to be the best it can be, but the fitness of the athlete is as important as the other two.”

Worcester’s Sport Science Technician Matt Davies, who has been working with Vickie, said the nature of her sport meant she could be doing intermittent exercise with short recovery periods.

He said: “We perform specific tests to inform Vickie’s training according to the demands of the sport she competes in. By optimising her training we ensure she’s not wasting time doing something that won’t benefit her performance.”