One hundred thirty-three enthusiastic runners, plus several more on four legs, participated in the TarTan "Dogs in the Field" 5K Run, on July 30.
The run was held at the John E. Flaherty Field Trial and Wildlife Management Area, a 512 acre parcel accessed off Tromley Road in East Windsor, comprised of mixed hardwood forests, open fields, and grasslands used for dog training and hunting.
The event was co-sponsored by the AKC-licensed TarTan Gordon Setter Club and the Run 169 Towns Society. Race Director Brenda Scully said the run raised funds for the TarTan Gordon Setter Charitable Trust, a 501c3 nonprofit, and was open to all of their dog friends.
As a result, a healthy mix of canine breeds came along for the run. The Run 169 Towns Society, of which Scully is a member, is made up of men and women who aspire to run a race in every town in the State of Connecticut, and they have become a notable presence at many charity runs across the state in recent years. Several participated in the Dogs in the Field Run, bolstering the fundraising efforts.
The race, professionally timed by Empire Timing, was followed by a picnic and a mini-concert, courtesy of guitarist Ron Anthony.
First and second place runners in the event were Ken Clark, of Somers, with a time of 20:10, and Caitlin Cunningham, of Simsbury, who finished with a time of 20:33.
The largest of the setters, Gordon setters have shiny black coats with tan markings. They were first bred in Scotland, where their strong sense of smell made them excellent bird dogs. Known for being sweet-tempered, loyal, and obedient, they are nevertheless active and outdoorsy and require a fair amount of activity lest they become restless.
Club President Laura Bedford said the TarTan name refers to their black and tan colorings. She said theirs is a New England-based club, with members also from New York, established in 1954 for Gordon setters and their fans. They sponsor a number of activities that center on breed, obedience, rally, agility, field trials, hunt tests, and social gatherings.
"The race money goes toward the trust and there are three parts to the trust," said Bedford. "We fund a $1,500 scholarship that we give out each year to someone studying in the field of animal or veterinary science. We fund rescue efforts for TarTan setters and we fund research for health and genetics."
Bedford said the TarTan club is but one of several member clubs that helps to maintain the Flaherty field grounds and which pays a fee to use them. The club holds two trials a year on the grounds.
For more information about the club and its activities, visit https://tartangsc.org/