The weekend of June 6th & 7th 2020 was one of those moments in a Club’s history that stays with you forever. It started out some three weeks before that date with the phone ringing. On the other end were the ‘Buckingham twins’ – mum Jan and daughter Katie. What are we going to do now was the impassioned plea? How do we top our previous lockdown challenges run by the Harriers Sprint Group, then the Women’s Endurance Squad and followed by the 5k Time Trial Challenge run by the Senior Men. How are we going to keep it going? Over the course of 15 minutes, it was decided that we would challenge the whole Club – not just parts of it – to come out and help us run the length of Britain – from Lands End to John O’Groats – and we called it the ‘End-to-End’ run.
In a period of real uncertainty for athletes, could we keep their participation in training going as individuals, when all group training and any form of collective competition was out of the question. Health is more important for sure. But still? Athletes train and compete and you just can’t turn the tap off for a big period of time and expect it to be turned back on so easy. The Harriers athletes, like athletes in all Clubs, had been grappling to work out how to keep up basic fitness, how to maintain technical skills, keep their strength & conditioning going, without that all important group training session, access to their Coaches face to face, or looking forward to the fixture at the weekend. Our End-to–End run was an attempt to bring all those individuals together, with one focus, one purpose, one goal in mind.
So, easy so far. That is what we will do. We will run the whole length of Britain in two days!! CAN WE DO IT? WILL WE DO IT?
Day 1 total distance covered was 1468.54 kilometres and on Day 2, the Team went even further clocking up 1676.03 kilometres. Just sensational. The total distance worked out at over 3140kilometres – equivalent to running the whole length of the country from Lands End to John O’groats, there and back with a 300 kilomtere cool down – or – running from Witton Park to Istanbul!!!
After such a phenononal achievement, how would we remember it, was the question on our lips. So another 15 minute phone call – or maybe more? – and those Buckingham twins had come up with the answer. Let’s frame our success and put it up in the Harriers Club Room for all to see and share with everyone, this fabulous weekend when the entire Club, turned out in one form or another, running, reporting, photographing and above all cheering, clapping, shouting, supporting every last step taken in realising the target.