Bury Friday Five success for Gilbert and Robson
- Credit: Archant
More than 400 runners took part in the annual Bury Friday Five race, held on the traditional five-mile course from Nowton Park on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds on a very warm last Friday evening.
Michael Gilbert, of Haverhill Running Club, led home a field of 427 around a lap of the park, followed by a steep ascent to High Green (which is where I watched the race from) and then a swift downhill section back to Nowton.
This was the fourth race in the ever-popular Friday Five Series, which this year features six events for the first time, with the inclusion of the Sudbury Friday Five at the start of the series.
Bury offers one of the toughest courses in the series, certainly a hillier challenge than the likes of the Kirton and Great Bentley races – the fifth race is being hosted by Stowmarket Striders this Friday, with the sixth and final race to be held at Great Bentley the following Friday evening (July 6).
Both these last two races are already full, confirming the continued popularity of this collection of five-milers.
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An in-form Gilbert surged around the rural five miles in 26mins 28secs, winning the race by more than a minute.
Among Gilbert’s other highlights of this year include a victory at the Sudbury Fun Run in 27:10, and a swift 15:38 on his way to 21st place at the competitive Ipswich Twilight 5K last month.
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Jim Last, of Framlingham Flyers, was second overall and the leading veteran in 27:52, followed by Stowmarket Striders’ Samuel Burdett in third (28:13).
Over-40 veteran Last had finished eighth at his home event, the Framlingham Flyers Five, two weeks earlier, while he was fourth at Bury last year (27:47) and third the previous year.
Members of the organising club, Saint Edmund Pacers, filled the next two places last Friday with Tom Henson in fourth with 28:35, and the experienced Kevin Murphy in fifth with 28:48.
Nick Smith ensured a trio of top-10 Pacers with 29:05 in eighth spot, just behind Sudbury Joggers’ Peter Davy and Felixstowe Road Runners’ Tony Gavin (both 28:50).
A total of 23 runners had the accolade of finishing in under 30 minutes (sub-six-minute-per-mile pace), and the leading lady was only 12 seconds off this landmark.
Odette Robson has dominated the Friday Five Series in recent summers, and she again won her home event in a time of 30:12. Only 24 men finished ahead of her.
This was the fourth year in a row that Robson had lifted the title, after finishing second to Sara Bird in a swift 29:04 in 2014. Robson won in 2015 (30:03), 2016 (29:59) and again last year (29:31).
Her latest success added to her Friday Five Series wins at Sudbury and Kirton from earlier in the summer.
Daisy Glover, of Newmarket Joggers, has enjoyed a fine 2018, and she posted a swift 30:20 on her way to second spot in the ladies’ category, finishing a mere eight seconds behind Robson.
Over-45 veteran Angela Joiner-Handy, another member of the Bury-based Pacers, was third lady in 31:42, with former winner Tamara Jordan (31:46) and Saffron Striders’ Rebecca White (32:10) completing the top five. Jordan’s long list of past victories at Bury includes 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012.
The Pacers won both the men’s and ladies’ team awards.
Last Friday’s bonanza also included two junior races, which were held within the grounds of the park.
Top 20 men: 1 M Gilbert (Haverhill) 26:28; 2 J Last (Framlingham) 27:52; 3 S Burdett (Stowmarket) 38:13; 4 T Henson (Saint Edmund Pacers) 28:35; 5 K Murphy (Pacers) 28:48; 6 P Davy (Sudbury Joggers) 28:50; 7 T Gavin (Felixstowe RR) 28:50; 8 N Smith (Pacers) 29:05; 9 N Clarke (Ipswich JAFFA) 29:12; 10 P Preston (Colchester Harriers) 29:16.
11 C Cooke (Pacers) 29:17; 12 T Abbott (Ips/Harr) 29:22; 13 S Manning (Framlingham) 29:23; 14 W Campbell (JAFFA) 29:24; 15 J Robson (Pacers) 29:29; 16 H Fitzgerald (Ips/Harr) 29:32; 17 B Jacobs (Felixstowe) 29:32; 18 C Hall (Bungay Black Dog) 29:32; 19 S Langley (JAFFA) 29:34; 20 G Scanlan (Col/Harr) 29:40.
Top 20 ladies: 1 O Robson (Pacers) 30:12; D Glover (Newmarket) 30:20; 3 A Joiner-Handy (Pacers) 31:42; 4 T Jordan 31:46; 5 R White (Saffron Striders) 32:10; 6 J Gooderham (Pacers) 32.20; 7 J Clarry (Pacers) 32:25; 8 K King (Pacers) 32:55; 9 S Thorogood (Sudbury) 34:12; 10 G Porch (Stowmarket) 34:15.
11 Z Armitage (Pacers) 34:20; 12 R Hamblyn (JAFFA) 34:23; 13 R Pittman (Springfield Striders) 34:24; 14 H Pollard (Newmarket) 34:27; 15 E Mortimer 34:52; 16 R Mortimer 34:57; 17 S Fitch (Felixstowe RR) 35:28; 18 C Green (Felixstowe) 35:54; 19 L Smith (Pacers) 36:04; 20 M Narey (Stowmarket) 36:48.
Winning male veterans, over-40: Last. Over-45: Preston. Over-50: Camobell. Over-55: Cooke. Over-60: T Back (JAFFA) 312:14. Over-65: S Rue (Pacers) 37:04. Over-70: M Bull 36:54. Under-20: Henson.
Female veterans, over-35: White. Over-40: Jordan. Over-45: Robson. Over-50: Thorogood. Over-55: Pittman. Over-60: C Beard (Sudbury) 43:02. Over-65: V Taylor (Framlingham) 46:51. Under-20: R Mortimer.