A Band Of Brothers

Oct. 8, 2007


by Jeff Smith, Contributor, bigten.org

It’s MacTaggart family tradition that every Christmas, when rarely anyone is out in the streets in Glen Elyn, Ill., father Chris will take sons Bruce and Eric out for a holiday run, while mother Barbara tags along. Running is a common bond in the family, as Chris ran collegiately at Northern Illinois and Bruce and Eric currently run for the University of Iowa.

The two brothers have used running as a way to strengthen their relationship even more, having each gained a scholarship to run at Iowa for Larry Wieczorek. But as the Hawkeye head coach points out, in sitting the pair next to each other or having them run side-by-side on the course, you probably wouldn’t even know they were brothers.

“Eric is much taller than Bruce and both of them have different styles of running,” Wieczorek said. “Eric is tall, lean, long-legged and more of a 5K-10K (5,000-10,000 meters) runner. Bruce is a little smaller, but more explosive at the finish and better at the mid-distance races.”

Another difference the Iowa mentor points out is just how different the two brothers’ first experience was on campus. Eric, a redshirt senior, came to Iowa City and contributed immediately. He competed in all eight races and was the Hawkeyes’ second finisher in five races. The freshman was 16th at Big Ten Championships (24:40), 28th at NCAA Midwest Regional (31:24.02) and 59th at NCAA Championships (32:27).

“Eric came in and was a success right away, but Bruce started out much rougher,” Wieczorek said.

Bruce is a redshirt freshman who did not compete last year due to a bad back and a bout with mono. Just two weeks into his college career, the younger MacTaggart fell ill and was sent home for a week. There are not many things more intimidating than falling behind so fast in your first few weeks of college. Luckily, Bruce’s older brother was always around to help him out.

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