HARP 24 runner

Big Night Out For HARP 24 Runners

Helping the homeless was the ultimate aim for these ultra runners...

Hundreds of runners spent a day and a night raising funds for a great cause at the 10th anniversary HARP 24 ultra at the weekend. Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park was the venue for this annual event in aid of Homeless Action Resource Project (HARP) – Southend's independent homeless charity.

HARP 24 is a continuous 24-hour relay held on a five-mile trail course situated in a beautiful wildlife park in the rolling countryside of the Roach Valley at Rochford, just a 10-minute drive from the busy Thames Estuary resort of Southend-on-Sea.

Participants could compete in various categories ranging from solo to large relay teams with 9-12 members. There was also a supporting Junior Fun Run – HARP 2.4 – where youngsters ran as many laps as they could around the Race HQ at Westcliff Rugby Club in 24 minutes. The leading results from the juniors were eight laps for Sam Havis in 23:09 and six laps for Kelsey Weir in 22:54.

The outstanding result from the main HARP 24 event was achieved by Team 5AMRC whose nine members covered the prodigious distance of 170 miles/34 laps ahead of The Rat Pack team (155mls/31 laps) and the first mixed team Kelly's Heroes (140mls/28 laps).

The leading 23 teams – including the first female team Maleficent (120mls/24 laps) – ran 100 miles or more within the allotted 24 hours.

Solo racers were led by Gabriel Flores (85mls/17 laps) and Richard Moore (75mls/15 laps) and the third individual was first female Sam Keenan (70mls/14 laps). Alastair Cullis (65mls/13 laps) was the third male home as Kate Bennett and Beverley Gibbs ran 60mls/12 laps to complete the women's rostrum.

Along with all the necessary effort and sleep deprivation, there was a lot of fun to be had and a sense of achievement after competing together from 12:00 noon on Saturday 17 June to 12:00 noon on Sunday 18 June 2023.

Our favourite team names among the top-25 were Cirque du Sore Legs; Twisted Blister; Kerry and The Pacemakers and the presumably well-hydrated H2GO.

Comprehensive results are available at runABC South race listing here.

Photo: HARP 24 on Facebook

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