The undeniable highlight of being Harie is coming on a weekend away with us. There are several throughout the year, and they are the best thing about the club for many members. They usually consist of traveling to another part of the UK for a big race, and are then followed by a fantastic night out. The main ones are:
- Manchester Relays (October)
- BUCS (January)
- Isle of Man Festival of Running (Easter Weekend)
- Harie Holiday (End of Semester 2)
The University of Manchester host a XC Relay Race every year in October, and if you want to get involved with the Haries, this is the trip to come on. The race is a 3km lap of some football pitches, which is admittedly a bit rubbish. But this doesn’t matter, because the real reason we go is the social afterwards, and to introduce our freshers to the world of University running – in fact the race is so casual we start fattening ourselves on baked goods and beverages (be they alcoholic or otherwise) as soon as we cross the line. Once the formalities of the running is out the way, we all get dressed up in Green, head over to our hosts’ (Manchester Uni runners let us sleep on their floors) houses, and prepare for the night of madness to come. All the rival university teams head to the same Indian restaurant on the famous Curry Mile, and what follows is hard to describe. There’s chanting. There’s drinking. There’s A LOT of curry. We head out to a club. Memories are blurred. It’s awesome, and not one to miss.
BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) XC is our biggest race of the year. University teams from all other the UK meet up in January and compete to determine who’s the best at cross country running. So it’s kind of a big deal. For this we travel down to whoever is hosting (2015 is The University of Sussex), take part in one of the maddest, muddiest and most brutal cross country races you’ll ever do, and then head to the after-party with the rest of the teams. It’s great fun, and will make you proud to be a Edinburgh Harie.
Isle of Man
This is the big one. It will quite simply be the best weekend of your year, and possibly your life. Every Easter weekend, the quiet little Isle of Man in the Irish Sea hosts a festival of running – 3 days of racing and partying with hundreds of other runners, including many rival university teams (Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow all make an appearance, as do lots of others). We travel to Liverpool and catch a ferry to the island early on Friday, in time for a stunningly beautiful 10km in Port Erin, a quaint seaside fishing village. Adrenaline is high, and lots of runners record PBs from the sheer excitement of the weekend ahead. We then have some well deserved fish and chips, and some members chose to head to the pub, whilst many will get some much needed sleep.
Saturday morning sees a 3 mile hill race (4 for men) in Peel. This is then followed by an incredible 11 mile pub crawl, running between the pubs back across the island to Douglas. Songs are sung, beverages drunk, challenges set, and for the brave, naked miles ran. Mike Diver might get up on the pub roof and down a pint. It’s all good wholesome fun. Honest.
Waking up next morning, we force ourselves out of bed to run the toughest 5k you’ll ever do. It’s a simple out and back relay along the promenade at Douglas, but the miles and madness from the previous two days take their toll, and it’ll take an hour of warming up to even feel vaguely ready to race. We still commit to it though, and many PBs have been earned on this course from all the Harie love. After the race comes the football derby: Edinburgh Uni vs Glasgow Uni (but they usually have to draft in some Aberdonians or Cambridge runners because they don’t have
enough any decent players), which we will win. Then that evening we dress up all fancy – shirts and ties paired with short shorts for the men, a mystery costume for the ladies – and pile into a bar in Douglas for the prize giving and, most importantly, the boat racing! This is another crazy fun night, and a brilliant way to finish off the weekend – certainly better than the painfully early ferry we’ll be getting back on Monday morning.
Once everyone’s exams are all over, we go for a holiday together as a club, usually to the Highlands. It is a very cheap weekend away, as our kind Treasurer usually agrees to heavily subsidise it. Three nights travel, food, accommodation and drinks could cost as little as £35! It’s a lovely end of the year, with people basically doing whatever they want – long runs in the hills, gentle walks, or hanging out playing card games in the lodge. This is also when the committee handover happens, and the old Captains set the new ones some interesting and hilarious challenges. And as per usual, the nights are also a lot of fun.