Cyclists V Harriers

Hull has long had a strong fraternity of cycle clubs and an annual fixture which provided much fun for many years was the Cyclists Versus Harriers Five Mile Cross-Country Race which was held each autumn between Hull Harriers and their good friends, Hull Thursday Road Club. The first such race had been organised between the two clubs in 1927 and proved so enjoyable that, with the exception of the war years, it remained an annual event until the 1960s.

Cyclists and harriers would set off together over quite rough country and the cyclists would ride when possible but had to carry their bikes across ploughed fields and throw them over fences. The race results largely depended on how much rain had fallen. When conditions were better then the cyclists fared well and the harriers came into their own with the mud. Fred Fussle, also a keen cyclist as well as outstanding runner for the club often fared well in these events. Sadly, the building of new housing estates over the fields in Haltemprice and the natural resistance of farmers eventually killed off this race.

Hull Harriers and Hull Thursday co-operated in many ways with each other during this period. Hull Thursday's top cyclist after the War was Bill Holmes who rode for Britain in a number of international long-distance events, including the Olympic Games and the publicity this attracted encouraged a surge of interest in cycle road racing. The Local Authority promoted a long-distance event in the Elloughton/High Hunsley area and Hull Harriers gladly helped by providing marshalls around the difficult lap course. The Thursday Road Club reciprocated by providing marshalls and specialist timekeepers in the first few marathons organised by Hull Harriers.