Hailsham Harriers win Covid Cup challenge

10th June

Paul Henderson
Paul Henderson of Hailsham Harriers

Four clubs, 220 runners (55 from each club), 14 days and one goal – to see which club could run the most miles and win the Covid Cup.

Runners had to be quick off the mark to put their names forward for the Hailsham Harriers team as the club lockdown relay the week before had reignited the spirit of excitement and competitiveness and all 55 available places were quickly snapped up.

While some were probably thinking this was going to be a gradual build up of miles over two weeks, others clearly had other plans Paul Henderson, Sarah Woolie Gloves, Gavin Watson-Jones and Carl Barton were first out of the starting blocks on day one logging impressive miles.  Hour by hour, Harrier after Harrier, the miles flooded in with Big Si drawing the first day to a close with a team total of 414 miles.  50/55 runners had headed out and smashed the miles which meant Hailsham Harriers took an early lead on day one, week one to get the competition well and truly under way.

Michelle Hollands of Hailsham Harriers

As the first week continued the miles certainly didn’t stop, the performances didn’t falter, the excitement didn’t subside, the Harriers lead kept advancing and Crowborough runners (hot on the Harriers’ heels every day) kept on fighting.  The end of week one saw Hailsham, Crowborough, Heathfield and Uckfield record impressive mileage on Sunday 11th with Crowborough Runners logging an incredible 527 miles and closing their gap.  Week two wasn’t going to be easy with tired legs. The Harriers team needed to stay strong and dig deep to produce great mileage, stay ahead and claim the cup.

To name a few (and there were so many) Lisa G, Tina, Jenny Hall and Mark Bassett ran marathon distances, Tracy Erridge ran back to back beachy head marathons, Gary ‘Fluffy’ Smith recorded an incredible 20 miles each day for five consecutive days, ‘The Legend’ Pete Daws ran an awesome ultra marathon of 30 miles and Paul Henderson cheekily visited the towns of Heathfield, Uckfield and Crowborough to log an amazing ultra marathon of 33 miles.  The incredible Harriers team of 55 runners logged miles that for many were the longest, the furthest, the hardest, the toughest they had ever performed.

The Harriers won the Covid Cup with a total, jaw dropping mileage of 6,057 miles – enough to get them from Gatwick to Brazil. Crowborough Runners recorded an impressive 753 miles on the final day securing second place with a total of 5,718 miles while Heathfield took 3rd place with 4,095 miles and Uckfield 4th place with 3,502 miles.  

A collective Facebook page was set up for the four clubs to post their runs, support each other, make new friends, log new routes, and inspire others to push hard during these unprecedented times.  From this challenge a true inter-club spirit emerged and thanks goes to everyone at Uckfield runners for creating, organising and developing a challenge that the runners will never forget.

Andy Ruffs

Many members from each club combined their mileage with a chance to do good for others.  Harrier Paul Henderson raised a magnificent £754 for the charity ‘Uckfield Phab’ by donating 50p for every mile he ran along with individual donations while fellow Harrier Jenny Hall initiated a fund raising page for Eastbourne Food Bank, collecting an impressive £1,020. 

Hailsham Harriers Chairman Andy Ruffs collected the cup on behalf of the club.