The McTaggart Trot is unique. Teams of three, more or less randomly deranged, set off at the pace of the slowest runner to cover the first leg of four miles. They (the first leg runner) are then free to go back on the bus of leisure, where canapés are served by a liveried flunky (not really), run the four miles back to the start, complete the second leg of seven and a half miles, before dropping out, or run the whole 11 miles. The second leg runner is faced with similar choices at 7.5 miles while the final leg runner is obliged, on pain of death, to finish the 11 mile scenic, undulating, route around t’country lanes of Yorkshire.
O nly the final leg runner has the ‘chip’ on their ankle (I had to be content with the one on my shoulder). So, the 11 miler could just blast round on their own but that wouldn’t be in the spirit of the event. And this event is all about spirit. Fancy dress is optional but almost universal and it’s all for charity, mate. The whole thing is in aid of St. Theresa’s Hospice and probably raised about £2000, as most chip-in more than the £8 entry fee. This event is steadily growing and deserves to. This year 75 teams, with no other ambition but to enjoy thems-elves dressed in a variety of suitably festive gear, apart from one bewildering Power-Ranger or whatever and a very sparse sprinkling of people whose countenance screamed ‘bah! Humbug!’
Sedgefield Harriers were represented by Jayne ‘Santa’ Freeman, who took the first leg of our team 19. I ran the 2nd leg, as an elf with a pituitary gland disorder and our 3rd leg runner (not a Harrier) ran as the ghost of Christmas can’t be arsed. Pete King hedged his bets by running faster than any of us in team 62, wearing Santa’s tropical kit.
The organisational team is superb under the admirable captaincy of Grant McTaggart and results in a race that just makes you feel good and brings forth a mountain of cake at the end.
Times? Who cares? But, for the record, the race was ‘won’ by Team 54 (Abbie McCartin, Pauline Brown and Peter Armstrong) in 1:22:09. Their split times were: 32:25, 26:26 and 23:18, respectively.
Team 19 (Jayne Freeman, Ian Spencer and Sarah Guy) 1:40:07 in 44th place. Our split times were 40:08, 31:40 and 28:18.
Team 62 (Susan New, Julie Whinn and Pete King) 1:40:57 in 47th place. Split times 28:08, 45:48 and 27:01.
We’ll be back next year, having found a way of making sure our costumes don’t smell.
By Ian Spencer.