Harry Hawkes was a real character living in Thames Ditton in the early 1900’s. His father ran a bottling factory producing Ginger Beer and mineral water, located close to the George and Dragon pub in the heart of the village. For ten years Harry was Captain of the Thames Ditton Cricket Club 2nd Eleven.
In 1984 the cricket club launched an 8 mile race which ran from their headquarters at Giggs Green to Kingston and back along the Barge Walk to Hampton Court before returning to the clubhouse. Named the Harry Hawkes Eight in honour of their previous member the race quickly established itself and ran continuously for 26 years.
After a break of two years the cricket club were keen to restart the run, and approached local runner and race organizer Peter Wedderburn. Peter got together with TDCC member and fellow Straggler Alan Pemberton and devised a plan to launch the Harry Hawkes at the new classic 10 mile distance, by adding a two mile loop at the start. The new course retains the fast road sections and scenic mixed terrain on the Barge Walk river path and through woodland in Thames Ditton.