History

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The Regent Harriers were formed on the 13th July 1960 by the late Ron Clokie, who was inspired to take up road running after seconding the late Ian Jardine during the 1960 Comrades Marathon.

Ron was asked by the late Ian Jardine’s wife Eleanor to second Ian and it was the determination shown by Ian that motivated and inspired Ron to commence running and take part in the following Comrades marathon.

Three of Ron’s work companions, namely Gordon McNair, Dave Russell and Ruben Turkington of the United Building Society ran as a team entering the 1961 Comrades Marathon and the four original Regent Harriers finished the race within the qualifying time to receive their medals. They were the first commercial institution, which had ever entered as a team in the Comrades.

The name Regent Harriers was derived from Regent Place where Ron lived.

Over the years the Regent runners started from outside Ron’s house in the early hours of the morning and the group grew larger and larger.

Some of the first to run from Ron’s home were Graham Hobbs, now living in Australia, Arthur Wilkinson, Ken Fox, Jimmy Fuller, Terry Neary and Tim Hancock, as a schoolboy. Tim still runs with the Regent Harriers and must therefore be considered as possibly the longest serving Regent Harrier still running with the group.

In 1970 a Sunday Schedule of training runs was organised by Ron and was then produced for a number of years by Ivan and Errol Clark and now Garth Mulder.

In 1973 time trials were introduced in preparation for the McNab 16km road race.

Prior to 1973 a " hundred miler" was run over three days from Durban to Port Edward and at 4:30 am one Friday morning a small band of runners namely Terry Neary, Keith Wright, Brian Forsythe and Ron Clokie ran the first leg to the Suzela Hotel. The following day the goal was the Dawnview Hotel near Shelly Beach and the last day the run finished at the Port Edward Hotel (no Wild Coast Sun in those days). The "100 miler" became an annual event and numerous runners and their families enjoyed the comeraderie of this trip down the South Coast.

Now organised by Ron Tanner of Bayview the "100 miler" is named in memory of Ron Clokie and is still proving to be a popular training run.

During the early years of Regent Harriers, friendly rivalry developed amongst the runners and a trophy for the first man in comrades was donated by Reg O’Leary. Ron also compiled teams and the winning team of four runners was awarded the "Inmates Award". During time the number of Regent Harriers running the Comrades increased so much that the "Inmates Award" was discontinued.

In 1975 Regent moved their meeting venue from Regent Place to the corner of Broadway and Kensington Drive.

Regent Harriers continues from this venue and the Tuesday and Friday runs are measured and called by Wally Longhurst who is well known for his varied training runs. Garth Mulder measures and calls the Sunday runs. Both these runners took over the responsibility of measuring and calling the runs from Errol Clark.

Errol had undertaken the organisation of the Sunday runs for a number of years and at one stage also had the responsibility of the Tuesday and Friday runs. This was after the stalwart of Regent Harriers Terry Neary moved to the South Coast on pension. Terry proved to be a legend in his time and his running ability and enthusiasm for Regent placed him as one of the most popular Regent Harriers.

The Regent Harriers is not a club but a bunch of runners from may clubs and walks of life who join together in the morning for fellowship and to enjoy the beauty of the morning and to keep their bodies in trim condition and that’s what it has achieved. They don’t pay subs and the odd amounts necessary for small expenses is funded by the Trust.

The Trust was established by Ron Clokie to assist the late Davey Kerr’s wife Sylvia. The Trust is a legally registered Trust called the Regent Harriers Trust. Current chairman is Dave Carlyle who also commits himself to organising the six weeks of time trials currently held in October and November. Trustees are Ivan Clark, Neville Arrow, Brian Collins, Wally Longhurst and Dave Carlyle (chairman).

When Regents moved from Regent Place to Broadway it became difficult to organise the 17:00 evening run from this venue and the late Davey Kerr started a sub-section which ran from Davey’s home in Flack Place at the bottom of Mackeurtan Avenue to Umhlanga Rocks and back to Flack Place. Many a runner enjoyed these runs and the liquid refreshment held after the run. Davey Kerr was a man of courage and determination and made a wonderful contribution to running the North Durban area. As cancer gradually gripped him he had to stop his running but carried on with Regent by assisting and seconding runners on the long training runs. He would also set up his table at the top of one of the Glenashley Hills and serve the runners with a drink at the time trials. A wonderful inspiration to all Regent runners. One of those Regent Harriers on which the foundation of good fellowship and good sportsmanship has been built. Trustees of the Fund have over the years have granted gifts to people in need. A financial hand, the gift has always been confidential and although mainly directed at Regent Harrier runners has spread to other people in need. Part trustees include Ron Clokie himself, Terry Neary, Arthur Wilkinson, George Tertius and the late Aubrey Rose.

In addition to the Trust, a Christmas run is held on the 16th December each year and Regent Harriers are invited to give a donation with all monies collected going to a charity or worthy cause.

Over the years thousands and thousands of rands have been donated by Regent runners to such charities as, Springbok Radio Christmas Fund, S.P.C.A., SAPS, orphans, widows fund, Hospice and the Natal Blind Society. These are a few of the donations made over the years.

With the departure of Ron Clokie from Durban North, Arthur Wilkinson stepped into the breach and was the main speaker for Regents and as a past Chairman of Toastmasters, Arthur’s voice gave the runs great eloquence. His laugh could be heard loud and clear as the runners ran along the different roads. A great asset to Regent Arthur is now retired and because of a knee problem no longer runs.

The first lady runner at Regents was Maureen Holland and she ran a number of Comrades but because, at that time women were banned from Comrades she did not receive the acknowledgement she deserved. In the end she was given a Comrades blazer. Today Regent ladies excel in Comrades plus other races including walking. Springbok colors have been awarded to Tilda Tearle (running) and Patsy Clemmans (walking). A number of ladies have won silver medals and some have been awarded their Natal colors.

Women were allowed to run Comrades in 1977 and the first official Regents Comrades runner was Joan Clark who completed 10 Comrades and she was also the first Natal woman to earn her green number for this achievement. Lolly Thompson has completed 18 Comrades and is a staunch Regent Harrier and Savages runner. Tilda Tearle became Regents only Comrades winner when she won the ladies section of Comrades. Yvonne Summer holds the world 24-hour record. Cheryl Torr until recently was the Washie (161km) record holder. She also is six times winner of the Washie and has run it seven times and has run the Comrades sixteen times. Jane Moir presented her first ladies home trophy to Regent. Before that Reg O’ Leary had donated a gift voucher for the first Regent Harrier lady, which was won by Joan Clark and Cheryl Torr respectively. Tilda brought a lot of pride to Regents and is the only Springbok runner from Regent Harriers.

Regent has produced some good runners in the men’s section with many silvers to their credit. Green numbers and double greens have been awarded to Regent runners and the total number of Regent Harriers who have finished Comrades is very high.

At the Christmas party on the 16th December the first lady home, first man home trophies are presented. There is also a bronzed Ron Clokie shoe for achievement during the year, which is also presented at this function.

When Ron Clokie died a memorial stone was commissioned by Errol Clark and erected by Steve Penfold on the "Top Road" outside Huletts. The memorial stone still stands in front of the Lions Tap and the Regent Harriers are grateful to Huletts management for allowing this. Ron Clokie achieved much in his sporting career and won many awards in a number of sports. A devout Christian in his latter years Ron left behind a great legacy in the Regent Harriers and for this we are all eternally thankful.