Ipswich Twilight Road Races 2016 hailed a ‘huge success’ as GB runner Chris Thompson sets course record

Ipswich Twilight Road Races 2016 - 10k mass participation run.

Ipswich Twilight Road Races 2016 - 10k mass participation run.

Hundreds of runners pounded the streets of Ipswich town centre in a sold-out evening of captivating mass participation and elite road races.

More than 1,200 runners took part in the Ipswich Twilight Road Races on Friday – around 300 more than last year’s inaugural event.

Hundreds more lined the streets to provide support along the course, which stretched as far as Ipswich Town’s Portman Road stadium and started and finished at Suffolk New College.

Former European 10,000m silver medallist Chris Thompson won the elite 5k race in a course record time of 14mins 5.7secs.

“The organisers have done a brilliant job,” he said. “It has been very impressive and it is great running through the town centre.”

Katrina Wootton was the 5k women’s winner. Her time of 15mins 51secs is the quickest female time for a 5k road race in the UK this year.

Emma Mortimer, of Ipswich JAFFA Running Club, was the first woman past the post in the mass 10k run, in 39mins 36secs. Australian Richard Green won the race overall. The Sydney Striders runner finished in 35mins 26secs.

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The Ipswich Building Society event is organised by Ipswich JAFFA in association with Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk New College.

Race director Carl Ashton, of Ipswich JAFFA, said: “It was a huge success. It went without incident and lots of people said how fantastic it was.

“Many of the elite runners said they want to come back next year, as it is a very flat course and they were well-looked after by us, which is encouraging.”

One 10k mass runner, Tom Brown, was running eight weeks after his wife, Abby Muhs-Brown, 32, gave birth to son Bowie.

The 31-year-old, of Ipswich, said: “This is a fitness test for me as I haven’t run a road race since 2007 – the Dublin Marathon. It is such a great event for the town.”

Ipswich mayor Roger Fern sounded the air horn to start both races.

Race marshal Jo Lummi, 32, of Ipswich, added: “The event is going from strength to strength and brings in people to the town.”

Inspire Suffolk, the event’s chosen charity for 2016 and 2017, ran activities at the college.

Meanwhile, the Ipswich Waterfront Celebration this weekend features street entertainment, live music, and a finale firework display.

The free event runs from 10am to 9pm on both days.