Yes, you read it right! The Mascot Grand National is an annual race held over hurdles between Mascots of football and other sports teams. The race began in 1999 and until 2010 was held at Huntingdon Racecourse situated in Cambridgeshire. This ‘fun’ race which is taken more seriously by some than others, gives fans a chance to cheer on their team mascots and raise much needed funds for various charities.
The race which was originally intended for football mascots has now expanded to include mascots from other sports and even non-sports mascots. The race has suffered from a fair share of controversy, ‘ringers’ started being substituted for the genuine mascots, this fuelled media interest, no bad thing when you are trying to raise money! In 2001 there was controversy as Freddie the Fox was first past the winning post in great style, it later turned out he was Olympic 400m hurdler Matthew Douglas – a semi-finalist at the 2000 Games in Sydney. After complaints about the result, Dazzler the Lion from Rushden & Diamonds Football club was announced as the winner.
Chaddy the Owl from Oldham Athletic Football Club won in both 2002 and against the odds in 2003 when a female streaker ran towards the competitors causing Chaddy to veer off his straight line and resulting in many raised beaks, tails and ears amongst the other runners, Chaddy thought he might have been set up but was victorious anyway. The 2003 race also saw the odds on Sedge the Field Mouse being slashed from 66-1 to 2-1, when it was revealed Commonwealth Games sprinter Allyn Condon was inside the rodent’s costume. However Condon’s hopes were dashed when one of his’ mouse feet’ came loose during the race. It became obvious that differences in the mascot’s costumes can lead to certain contestants having an advantage or disadvantage.
The Mascot Grand National is moving to Kempton Park racecourse, Sunbury, Surrey in May 2012. The mascots are reported to be enthusiastic about the new venue and they hope it will encourage more entries from the South West to take part in this charity event. The last race run was in 2010 and it raised a very useful £2000 for the Special Olympics.
Mascot Grand National – Winners
1999: Beau Brummie Bulldog‚ Birmingham City F.C.
2000: Harry the Hornet‚ Watford F.C.
2001: Dazzler the Lion‚ Rushden & Diamonds F.C.
2002: Chaddy the Owl‚ Oldham Athletic A.F.C.
2003: Chaddy the Owl‚ Oldham Athletic A.F.C.
2004: Graham the Gorilla‚ Finedon Volta F.C.
2005: Scoop Six Squirrel‚ The Sun newspaper
2006: Mickey the Monkey‚ Kick 4 Life
2007: Wacky Macky Bear‚ Saffron Walden Town F.C
2008: Wacky Macky Bear‚ Saffron Walden Town F.C
2009: Stag‚ Huntingdon Rugby Club
2010: Mr Bumble‚ Barnet F.C.