Wednesday, 29th January 2020
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Five go mad in Harvel!

by Mike Clyne
Wednesday 10th June 2015

Race report: Mike Clyne reports from the Harvel 5 - Saturday, June 6, 2015

Harvel 5 - Saturday, June 6, 2015

Photos © www.fast2foto.co.uk

The 17th Harvel 5 was held in glorious sunshine among the rolling hills of West Kent.  Organised by the Harvel Hash House Harriers (HERE), the five mile race, a distance not seen as often as 5k or 10k, is a perfect Saturday afternoon sort of distance.

I had been hearing about the race for a few years from a friend who lives just near the start and finally getting to run it made me wonder why I waited so long.  The Harvel team have managed to create a perfect blend of village fete, running event, family day out and wacky hashing humour all in one afternoon. 

The village green was packed with smiling people when I arrived, yet the queue to collect my number was all of 30 seconds.  Every single marshal I encountered had a huge welcoming smile on their face and there was a contended buzz pervading everywhere.

Harvel 5 - Saturday, June 6, 2015

Photos © www.fast2foto.co.uk

Whether it was the funny signs, the dressed up Portaloos, the mens urinal behind a wind break with famous faces to ‘aim at’; there was so much fun around that you couldn’t help but be dragged into the enjoyment of the event.

The warm up was in a field led by someone on a trailer that was hitched to a tractor; the start was a farmer firing his shotgun and everywhere you looked, you were reminded that you were in a beautiful village in the Garden of England.  The first mile was along a CLOSED road (yes, closed road, no traffic, just for runners!) before turning into the country park.  It was mostly uphill and along the road but there were plenty of spectators who were warmly applauding us all.  The second mile continued the uphill stretch and around the halfway point, the aid station (water, jelly babies and beer all available) was well stocked and staffed by yet more smiley enthusiastic people. 

Harvel 5 - Saturday, June 6, 2015

Photos © www.fast2foto.co.uk

After this we were treated to shade and a downhill section along a more uneven trail (road shoes would be fine on this course but you need to watch your step) and a few muddy patches made it even more varied.

A cheeky 250m steep uphill section at about 3.5 miles kept us focussed and at that point, it was all downhill. I was running with my friend Martin and we had done well to that point (actually he was doing much better than I was, but he very charitably waited for me after the hill) so we pushed on, determined to beat the 45 minute mark. Our miles had all been inside 9.00 so we were on track and as we retraced our steps along the still closed road for the last mile, we heard the noise of the finish and then saw a welcome sight of the huge mass of spectators. A sharp right turn and 30m later we ran over the line. 

Harvel 5 - Saturday, June 6, 2015

Photos © www.fast2foto.co.uk

We received our great finishers medal (see photo) that doubles up as a bottle opener and then a drink.  Finally a chance to get a picture with our families and thanks again to the organisers, these were free downloads – as they were for all 742 finishers.

The Harvel 5 is a great race that encapsulates everything that we want from local races – flawless organisation, lovely course, good attention to detail, marvellous atmosphere and a friendly welcome.  Watch out for it in 2016 and join the fun!

Harvel 5 - Saturday, June 6, 2015

Photos © www.fast2foto.co.uk

Men's results

1 Thomas Wright Bexley AC 26:24
2 Peter Tucker Blackheath & Bromley Harriers 26:53
3 Ben Chamberlain Unattached 27:06


Women's results


Maria Heslop

Paddock Wood AC 30:25
2 Sarah Gruber Invicta East Kent AC 31:13
3 Anoushka Johnson Bexley AC 33:22


Click here for full results


About The Author

Mike Clyne

Mike has been writing the occasional article for Run247 for the past few years.
Since his debut marathon (Abingdon 1983) aged 16, he has now completed 34 stand-alone marathons and has completed 10 Ironman triathlons (that include a marathon at the end).  He has finished the London Marathon on 14 occasions and has also run a few times as a Runners World pacer hitting his target every time (except his 2014 DNF).  Mike is currently targeting the Comrades Marathon on 10th June and, yes, he is nervous about this!
When he isn’t plodding around these races he can also be heard on the microphone as commentator and announcer at a number of events.
You can follow him on Twitter @IronmanMike and on Instagram @Mike7Oaks

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