Ipswich Harriers’ Tom Adams completes back-to-back five-mile wins, at Stowmarket

Tom Adams, on his way to victory at the Stowmarket Striders Friday Five. Picture: HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

Tom Adams, on his way to victory at the Stowmarket Striders Friday Five. Picture: HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

Tom Adams, who does not turn 18 until next February, is taking the Friday Five Series by storm this summer.

Tom Adams, who does not turn 18 until next February, is taking the Friday Five Series by storm this summer.

Cross Country specialist Adams has been turning his attentions to the roads, and to good effect, following up his impressive victory in the first race of the series at Kirton with another victory at the second event, hosted by Stowmarket Striders last Friday evening.

He spent much of the five miles trailing Jim Last, of Framlingham Flyers, before stepping up a gear to overhaul the long-time leader during the last quarter-of-a-mile, and so add the Stowmarket Friday Five title to his Kirton crown.

I caught up with Adams earlier this week, speaking to him on the telephone while he was having a hair-cut – at least I had a captive audience!

“I consider myself to be more of a cross country runner than a track runner, but hopefully my times will start coming down,” said Adams.

“I think that I let him (Last) get too far ahead of me early on. I let him go, and I reckon he was 100 yards ahead of me going into the final mile. I was about 10 seconds behind.

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“It was perhaps a combination of him slowing down, and me feeling good. I had more energy at the end, and managed to overtake him with about 400 metre to go. I suppose you could say that it was well-timed.”

Adams, a member of Ipswich Harriers, had clocked 27mins 11secs on his way to victory at Kirton, finishing 11 seconds ahead of in-form veteran Last, who has been a stalwart member of the Flyers for many years and is the club record holder for the marathon.

Last Friday, over a new course from the village of Buxhall, just outside Stowmarket, Adams was a little slower in 27:38. Last was again a fine runner-up, a mere eight seconds adrift in 27:46, with unaffiliated runner Sam Ratcliffe third in 27:52.

“I train twice a week on the track, at Northgate. We have a good training group,” explained Adams, who comes from Holton St Mary, near East Bergholt.

He continued: “Josh Hulse is in my group. He won the 800m at the English Schools Championships two years ago (at Gateshead), so he’s a good person to chase after in training!

“I was told that Stowmarket was a fast course, and I suppose it is. There weren’t any sharp hills, but there were a few long drags that took it out of you. Obviously I’d like to get under 27 minutes for five miles, and this season I want to set some personal bests on the track, over 3,000m and 5,000m. I’ve only run one 5K so far.

“I didn’t have a bad cross country season last year, but illness hindered me, especially at the English Schools (101st at Norwich), which was not great.”

Adams, 17, is a student at Suffolk One Sixth Form College in Ipswich.

A bumper field of 452 tackled the Stowmarket event – it was moved from the traditional Haughley Park course for this year only – with a further 85 tackling the two junior races.

The top five was completed by the Ipswich JAFFA double act of Ben Turley (fourth in 28:23) and Keith Tilley (fifth in 28:28, also first over-45 veteran), while junior runner Harry Fitzgerald followed up his ninth spot at Kirton with sixth at Stowmarket in 28:45.

Odette Robson has dominated the ladies’ section in the Friday Five Series in recent years, and she looks set to retain her overall series title this year.

The over-45 veteran, from Saint Edmund Pacers, was only beaten by 12 men at Stowmarket, stopping the clock at a swift 29:39.

Robson had won the Kirton event by nearly two minutes, but she had less in hand last Friday with West Suffolk AC’s Justine Anthony running well for second spot in 30:12, just 33 seconds adrift of Robson.

Third spot went to JAFFA’s Georgia Garvin (31:33), with Ipswich Harriers’ junior Alice Goodwin fourth (32:16) and Pacers’ over-40 veteran Zohra Arimtage fifth (33:49).

In the junior races, the Pacers filled three of the first four places in the eight-and-under age group.

Jaden Brownhill and Luke Brownhill were first and second respectively, with club-mate Phoebe Duffin fourth and first girl. Felixstowe RR’s Harry Read was third. Dylan Fothergill won the 9-16 year-old race, from Stowmarket Striders’ Harry Tillbrook. Sisters Maddie and Millie Jordan-Lee clocked the same time, in fourth and fifth.

The third race in the Friday Five Series is tomorrow night, at Framlingham. The Framlingham Flyers Five, which incorporates the Suffolk County five-mile Championships, takes place from Framlingham Sports Club. The main race is at 7.30pm, but there is a junior race at 7pm.