RUNNERS donned their best festive fancy dress for a team race in support of a Darlington charity.

Fifty teams, totalling 150 runners, gathered at the start of the 15th McTaggart Trot, which has raised thousands of pounds for St Teresa’s Hospice over the years.

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Organised by Darlington Triathlon Club member Grant McTaggart, with the help of Darlington Harrier Paul Cook and an army of aids, the event took competitors on a loop from Barton, near Richmond, to Stapleton, Croft and Middleton Tyas.

Teams members either completed a 3.5 mile leg, or a 7.5 mile section, with the last runner completing the full circular back to Barton Village Hall, a distance of 11 miles. A minibus driver from 1AB Taxis transported runners back from drop off points.

The Northern Echo:

Grant began the charity run after a club member’s wife was taken ill and was looked after by staff at St Teresa’s Hospice.

“It remains such a great cause and an amazing facility for the people of Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire,” he said.

“When we started we had just nine teams and 27 runners and since then it has grown and grown. In spite of Covid we still managed to attract 150 entrants this year. Many competitors say it’s their favourite race of the year because runners of different abilities take part, it is run in such good spirit and it feels like the start of Christmas.

“It’s such a good event and, thankfully, it went without a hitch. Everyone brought plenty of cake for the end of the race which they enjoyed.”

St Teresa’s needs to raise £3m a year to provide free, in-patient and community care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “In the current climate we are absolutely thrilled when any fundraising event can take place and the continued support of Grant and his team is wonderful.

“The pandemic is far from over and funding continues to prey on our minds particularly if Covid restrictions come back into force. We managed to maintain our core services throughout the pandemic so we are very grateful for the help of our community."

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