HARP 24 is the 24 hour race in aid to support the local Southend Homeless Charity. The runners set off either as a solo or in teams at midday Saturday lunchtime through to midday Sunday. It is the sixth consecutive year HARP 24 has taken place at Westcliff Rugby Club in Southend and it is a 4.2 mile trail course of which runners try to complete as many laps as they possibly can in 24 hours.
This year the Castle Point Joggers had 4 different teams, as well as 1 duo and 4 solo runners competing in the HARP 24; an event which is loved by all associated with the CPJ’s, from the runners, to the helpers and to the supporters.
The race began at 12 o’clock Saturday Lunchtime however, it was an early start for the runners as tents needed to be set up ready for the night, with the help from the Army Cadets. Nevertheless, before the race it was all similes from the wonderful runners at Castle Point Joggers as they all sat proudly in their blue jerseys while listening to a pre-race briefing.
Eventually after a long morning, the race got underway with the solo runners along with the team members running the first leg. Despite being a 24 hour event, the course wasn’t easy, it was uneven ground and a hill through the woods added in for extra fun; something that according to the runners seemed to get steeper and steeper as the laps and hours went by! However, even a hill and little sleep, didn’t stop the Castle Point Joggers giving it their all.
The first of the solo runners to complete a lap was Martin England, also known as ‘The Machine’! Despite coming down with a heavy cold on the day of the race, his spirits were still high thanks to the support from the fellow Castle Point Joggers! It also, didn’t stop him smiling and posing for the camera as always after every lap he completed.
After a long 24 hours, he managed to still complete 14 laps, being the equivalent of nearly 59 miles! An awesome achievement alone, without imagining what he could’ve done in full health. I was a very proud daughter!
The other solo runners also followed in England’s footsteps with happy and smiley Tracy Pitkin completing 12 laps! An incredible 50.4 miles! The same was said about Jane Hopkins who completed a magnificent 9 laps, 37.8 miles. Both ladies, no matter how much pain they were in, managed to pose for the camera too! Even if Jane supposedly made Tracy run every time in front of the camera haha!
The final of the fantastic Castle Point Joggers solo runners, was Sarah Jackaman! Last year Sarah ran 7 laps and therefore her goal this year was to improve on the amazing effort in 2016. And of course she did that, nothing would’ve stopped her and she completed 8 laps, an amazing 33.6 miles! She too could still pose for the camera making the run look easy, despite being in pain! Awesome running Sarah!
Following on from the solo runners came the teams, the first team was the Men’s A, made up by Paul Franklin, Mike Hopkins with the suited nickname ‘Brenda’, Cliff King, Chunda Moore and last but not least Daniel Hobbs! There was no stopping this team who together completed 39 laps, and a total of 163.8 miles between the five of them! The boys also battled hard as they continued the run non-stop through the night, trying to squeeze a bit of sleep in between each others turn! Nevertheless their hard work paid off as they managed to grab second place! Something quite magical from a ‘social’ running club!
The Men’s B team from the Castle Point Joggers also put in a superb performance. The team was made up from Mike Hayward, Nick McCullagh, Mark Whitney who all completed 7 laps, also part of the team was Gary Bright with 6 laps and Phil Ransom with 3 laps! The team totalled an astonishing 30 laps making 126 miles! They too ran non-stop through the long night! Well done boys, absolutely fantastic!
The Castle Point Joggers had a mixed team too of which was made up of Anne Hoeb and Colin Dunn who completed 8 laps, George Rowe and Martin Howlett who completed 7 laps and Kerry Wenborn who did 6 laps! The mixed team put in a fabulous performance completely 36 laps equalling 151.2 miles as a team, and unbelieablely achieving 2nd place overall. The mixed team also had very little sleep as they continued running throughout the night, awesome effort!
The last big team the Castle Point Joggers had was the lovely Ladies team! Part of this team was Tracey Bradley who completed 5 laps, Debbie Dunn, Lauren Parker, Laura Avery, Valerie McCullagh and Jayne Hayward who all completed 4 laps, Jan Steed who did 3 laps and Yvette Spedinski with 1 lap! This ladies team did fantastically well and finished a magnificent 2nd place overall in their category, with a total of 29 laps making 121.8 miles! Well done Ladies!
Last but not least, the Castle Point Joggers had Ben Avery running for them in a duo! He put in a superb performance and completed himself 10 laps, making 42 miles! Well done Ben!
The HARP 24 was a fantastic weekend event, with thousands of pounds being raised for the Homeless Charity! However, without the efforts from all the supporters and helpers as well as the runners it would’ve been a lot tougher. Nicola Walker lived up to her ‘Stalker’ name by fantastically staying up for the 24 hours to make sure the Castle Point team ran smoothly, getting each runner ready for their turn and also counting the laps as they went by, as well as trying to wake those up having a nap, which with some wasn’t an easy task, no names mentioned!
Also, the runners would’ve also been in even more pain without the help of Kelly who provided free recovery massages for all those running for the Castle Point Joggers to keep them going as well as working tirelessly through the night! This was much appreciated by all the runners, so well done and thank you Kelly!
At what was a very long weekend, it was a fantastic event, and a great 24 hours spent together as a club! In total it was mind-blowing 185 laps of 4.2 miles equalling 777 miles. Everyone there deserves a long rest and some time so catch up with some sleep, well apart from me as I did have a 8 hour nap!
Last but not least is that, I know those runners who took part in this 24 hour race are probably reading this in a lot of pain, I just thought I would remind you that their was training tonight so I hope you didn’t forget! Well done Castle Point Joggers, same again next year for this running family!