Friday Five Series proving more popular than ever
- Credit: Archant
The ever-popular Friday Five Series, supported by East of England Co-Op, has been up-and-running for a couple of weeks, with Framlingham Flyers hosting the third event this evening.
In fact, such is the popularity of this Series, which is now six-strong following the introduction of the Sudbury Friday Five, that the entry limit for tonight’s race at Framlingham has been reached, while the last event at Great Bentley on July 6 is already full.
The Series has certainly come a long way since I first used to take part, back in the early 1990s, when the Little Clacton Friday Five was on the calendar.
The 2018 Series began with the inaugural Sudbury Joggers Friday Five, based at Great Cornard Sports Centre – runners have to complete at least four of the six races to qualify for the final Series standings.
A field of 343 was spearheaded by a terrific shoulder-to-shoulder battle between youngsters Tom Adams and Ermeas Afewerki, with just one second separating them after a sprint finish.
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Adams, of Ipswich Harriers, clocked 28 minutes 09 seconds, with fellow under-20 athlete Afewerki, of Colchester Harriers, second in 28:10.
Just 12 seconds spanned the first four runners home. Kieran Hayles, of host club Sudbury Joggers, took third in 28:17, pursued by Ipswich JAFFA’s Adam Wade, who was fourth in 28:21.
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Adam Howlett, of Framlingham Flyers, was fifth overall and the leading veteran (over-45) in 28:42.
Odette Robson has been a dominant force in this five-mile series over recent years, and the over-45 veteran again led the way at Sudbury.
A stalwart member of Saint Edmund Pacers, Robson stopped the clock at 30:36, with fellow veteran (over-40) Aiko Henington, of Colchester Harriers, her closest challenger with 30:30 in second.
Daisy Glover, who has been running well in the colours of Newmarket Joggers, completed the top three with 31:00.
Meanwhile, the second race in the Friday Five Series, the well-established Kirton Friday Five, took place at the end of last week. It had the bonus of also incorporating the Suffolk County Five-Mile Championships.
Organised by Felixstowe Road Runners, the Kirton bonanza has been going for more than 20 years, and last Friday attracted an impressive total of 447 finishers.
Andrew Rooke, fresh from his storming victory and personal best (31:52) at the Woodbridge 10K road race, from a fortnight earlier, was a comfortable winner at Kirton in 25:14.
Rooke therefore retained the Suffolk County five-mile crown that he had won at Framlingham last year, while also regaining the Kirton title that he won in 2016. The Framlingham Flyer is certainly proving very difficult to match on the Suffolk roads.
Chris Burgoyne, of Springfield Striders, was 80 seconds behind in second place with 26:34, well clear of Waveney Valley’s Lee Cook (27:07) and the Ipswich JAFFA double act of James Calvert (fourth in 27:30) and Ben Turley (fifth in 27:51).
Newmarket Joggers’ Neil Pollard (28:00) and Hayles (28:01), who was third at the first meeting at Sudbury, were also to the fore in sixth and seventh respectively.
Once again Robson was the first female finisher, improving her time from Sudbury to an impressive 29:50. She was 30th overall.
Her Pacers’ club-mate, Jesse Gooderham, was second female in 32:26, finishing 36 seconds ahead of third-placed Emma Drury, from Sudbury Joggers (33:02).
Following tonight’s third event, at Framlingham, the Series takes a short break before returning for the Bury St Edmunds Friday Five (June 22), the Stowmarket Striders Five (June 29) and finally the Great Bentley event (July 6).
Meanwhile, each event is also staging a supporting junior race.
At the Sudbury junior race, Ipswich Harriers’ Freddie Adams (under-15) was first home in 6mins 11secs. There was an outstanding run from under-11 athlete Samuel Blackwell, of the Pacers, who was second in 6:40, one second ahead of under-15 Archie Henington.
Another Pacer, Anna Cartwright (under-13), was the first girl with 6:42.
At the Kirton junior fun run, held over a course of approximately 1.5 miles, Ipswich Harriers’ Eddie Osborn (u-15) was first in 9:17.
Brandon Barber, a super-quick under-11 athlete from Framlingham Flyers, clocked 10:04 in second, ahead of fellow under-11 Sidney Tilley (10:06).
Stephanie Allen, of the Bury-based Pacers, was first girl in 10:30. Fellow under-13 Freya Wilcox (JAFFA) was second in 10:39.