Helen Davies delighted with her course record at Ipswich Twilight 10K

Jack Millar, out on his own, and on his way to victory at the Ipswich Twilight 10K. Picture:SIMON HO

Jack Millar, out on his own, and on his way to victory at the Ipswich Twilight 10K. Picture:SIMON HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

Helen Davies and Jack Millar both smashed the course record on their way to impressive victories at the Ipswich Twilight 10K road race, held in the town on a balmy last Friday evening.

Helen Davies, in action during last Friday's Ipswich Twilight 10K, where she set a course record and

Helen Davies, in action during last Friday's Ipswich Twilight 10K, where she set a course record and a PB. Picture: SIMON HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

Millar led home a record field to clock a scorching time of 30 minutes 40 seconds, obliterating the previous course best by nearly three-and-a-half minutes.

It was a cracking run from Millar, a member of Ipswich Harriers who is currently a student at Bath University.

Davies, meanwhile, a high-calibre international marathon runner who will be running for England at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon this autumn, hacked more than two minutes off the women’s course record in her home town.

Ipswich JAFFA stalwart Davies, whose club are the main organisers of this huge event, with backing from Ipswich Building Society, also had the satisfaction of lowering her own personal best time by 20 seconds.

Jack Millar strides out on his way to a superb time of 30mins 40secs at the Ipswich Twilight 10K. It

Jack Millar strides out on his way to a superb time of 30mins 40secs at the Ipswich Twilight 10K. It was a bigg course record. Picture: SIMON HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

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Davies competed for her country in the marathon at both the European Championships (in Barcelona) and the Commonwealth Games (in Delhi) in 2010, but took a break from competitive running to start a new family before returning to the scene – and it has been a very impressive comeback.

“It was a very warm evening, but I had already decided that I was in PB shape,” explained Davies.

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“I had a plan in my mind, and although it was warm at the start, I didn’t notice it because I was focused on everything else. When you’re only running a little over 30 minutes, the heat doesn’t affect you that much.

“It all went as we had expected, and hoped. My PB had been 34:35, so I took 20 seconds off that – and PBs are a rarity for me these days, although my 10K PB was one of my weaker ones.

“I have usually run 10Ks while essentially in a build-up for a marathon, but since recovering from the Brighton Marathon, I have been working hard on my 5K and 10K speed, with all the conditioning and strength work.

“The plan was to reach half-way in 17 minutes, to give myself a little cushion, and I ended up going through half-way in 16:58, while feeling really good.

“I hadn’t felt that good in a race over that distance for a while, and to get a PB in front of such a big crowd, and at your home event on home turf, was great. There’s no better place to do it than at Ipswich, for me,” added Davies.

Davies had retained her Brighton Marathon title with a time of 2:38:37 last April, so continuing with her fine comeback since the birth of her two sons, Kingsley and Hector.

She has a PB of 2:34:11 for the marathon, set at the London Marathon in 2012.

“It fills me with a lot confidence, going into all my marathon training,” enthused Davies, who is coached by JAFFA’s Clive Sparkes.

“I had started to nudge up the miles in training, but I have just been holding back a little until after this Twilight event.

“I did run 18 miles the previous weekend, but there has been no real need to follow the usual 12-14-week marathon build up, because I’ve come into it off a Spring marathon (at Brighton).

“So I’m following an 11-12 week build-up, concentrating on my speedwork before then. But I did run 19 miles on Sunday morning!

“It’s head down, from now on, into the marathon training.

“Friday was a great event, and a big success for Ipswich JAFFA.

“Jack Millar ran out of his skin to run 30:40, so it was a very good evening for Ipswich. He’s such a nice lad, and he seemed to stand at the finish and shake the hand of nearly every finisher, as soon as he had finished himself.

“It was a bumper field, and both course records went as well. It was also the biggest entry that they have had, and it was a real eye-opener to see so many runners on the roads.

“It was fantastic, and a great occasion for the town. The atmosphere was great and I got a lot of encouragement from all the runners on the course.”

Under-20 athlete Emily Moyes, of West Suffolk AC, also enjoyed a superb run, achieving her target of a sub-36 minute 1K time by setting a PB of 35:58 in second.

Meanwhile, men’s winner Jack (John) Millar insisted that he could have gone even faster than his 30:40 landmark run.

“It was a little bit slower than I had hoped!” revealed Millar.

“Ideally, I would like to have run under 30 minutes, but there was a little bit of traffic ahead with groups of runners (completing their first lap) during the last 2K.

“That probably cost me a little time, but that’s all part of road racing. I still took 20 seconds off my PB, and I hope to keep getting faster,” added 20-year-old Millar.

Now Millar, who lives in the small village of Helmingham, near Otley, is targeting the Framlingham 10K and then the Inter-Counties 10K in Brighton.

He is actually a specialist steeplechaser on the track, although injuries have held him back in that displine, and he has also represented England on the cross country circuit.

Fellow Harrier, Alex Lawrence, was second at Ipswich in a PB of 33:21, while Felixstowe Road Runners’ Ben Carpendale, last year’s winner, was third in 33:46, which was also a PB.


Top 20 men: 1 J Millar (Ipswich Harriers) 30:40; 2 A Lawrence (Ips/Harr) 33:21; 3 B Carpendale (Felixstowe RR) 33:46; 4 E Mitchell (Colchester Harriers) 34:02; 5 B Turley (JAFFA) 34:21; 6 A Manton (Springfield Striders) 34:51; 7 A Tripp (Ips/Harr) 35:03; 8 J Last (Framlingham Flyers, first over-40) 35:15; 9 T Woulfe (Braintree) 35:19; 10 A Howlett (Fram/Flyers, first over-45) 35:22.

11 K Hayles (Sudbury Joggers) 35:47; 12 T Gavin (Felixstowe RR) 36:06; 13 S Ramsey (Hadleigh Hares) 36:27; 14 P Wain (JAFFA) 36:50; 15 N Clarke (JAFFA) 37:06; 16 S Langley (JAFFA, first over-55) 37:09; 17 J Grady (Ips/Harr) 37:18; 18 W Campbell (JAFFA, first over-50) 37:21; 19 G Taylor (Felixstowe RR) 37:29; 20 M Newman (Un) 37:41.

Top 10 ladies: 1 H Davies (JAFFA) 34:15; 2 E Moyes (West Suffolk)35:58; 3 S Bird (JAFFA) 37:54; 4 L Thomas (JAFFA) 38:39; 5 S West (JAFFA) 38:44; 6 H Aldous (Diss) 42:10; 7 S Thorogood (Sudbury, first over-50) 42:28; 8 E Mortimer (Un) 42:56; 9 E Attwood (Stowmarket Striders) 42:57; 10 N Lambert-John (Coltishall Jaguars) 43:03.

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