As I need to be up and out of the house for 7am on Sunday morning, it’ll be early to bed this evening for yours truly. My requirement to reveille and depart casa Strachan at that ungodly time is so I can be the other side of Leeds (Kirkstall) for 7.50am. My presence needed there for a pre-Leeds Half Marathon marshal briefing, along with other volunteers from MacMillan Cancer Support.

I undertook the same role during the same road race in 2018. An experience that, despite being stricken with a terminal inflatable clapping sticks puncture***, I found eminently uplifting.

*** – An affliction meaning I had to spend an hour clapping my hands to encourage participants. However, my red hands at the conclusion would’ve paled into insignificance compared to the half marathon runner’s foot blisters.

Amongst the people us marshals cheered on were a bunch of celebrities, among them ex-Leeds Rhino rugby league players Jamie Peacock, Keith Senior and Kevin Sinfield. Juggernauts of guys whose thunderous steps probably measured on the Richter Scale as they passed me on Kirkstall Road and Elmo from Sesame Street.

Another ‘celebrity’ participant of last year’s 13 mile race around Leeds city centre was Elmo from Sesame Street. To be honest, I’m unsure if it was the real character from the long-running US children’s TV show. However, as the ref furry monster had a Yorkshire accent and breathlessly uttered “I’m f***ing shattered!!” while passing my marshalling station, I’d err on the side it wasn’t.

2018’s half marathon also saw giant mustard and tomato sauce bottles run (well tiredly stagger) past me at my post, 11 miles into the race. The guy in the mustard bottle slightly ahead of the bloke in the tomato sauce receptacle. From what I witnessed, the red bottle looked as though he was really struggling to ketchup his buddy…….. Come back!….. Come Back!….. I promise I’ll never proffer another joke as bad as that again!….. EVER!!

From recollection, last year saw a runner from the British Armed forces raising funds by participating with a ships anchor on his back. A stiff handicap to add to what is already a physically gruelling challenge. As much as I admired this guy for his fundraising challenge, when first catching sight of him I couldn’t help wonder if there was currently a Royal Navy frigate sailing around the Mediterranean minus means of securing it to the sea bed.


I wrote the above seven paragraphs on Saturday evening. It’s now mid-afternoon on Sunday and today’s race which finished around two hours ago and I’m back home after another enjoyable marshalling stint.

We’ve currently got my mum around for Sunday dinner. As I write, the ditzy old mare is currently trying to work out if I was winding her up when I told her ‘Steam Boat Willy’ was a porn film, not a Mickey Mouse cartoon.

I feel like I’m in a episode of the TV comedy The Royle Family. The dysfunctional northern English family with a batty grandma whose key life aspiration is to own a Dyson vacuum cleaner and clandestinely quaff the household sherry.

In fact, if our house had a fat overly-opinionated father, a not very bright mother and a daughter whose hangovers last the whole of the next day my clan’s domestic goings-on would be incredibly similar to the Royle brood……. Actually, coming to think of it…….!!