Wins for Gavin and Unthank at Kirton Friday Five

Tony Gavin, of Felixstowe Road Runners, who won the Kirton Friday Five. Picture: DEAN REDNALL/STOWMA

Tony Gavin, of Felixstowe Road Runners, who won the Kirton Friday Five. Picture: DEAN REDNALL/STOWMARKET STRIDERS FACEBOOK - Credit: Archant

Tony Gavin has made rapid strides over the last 12 months, and the Felixstowe Road Runner confirmed his big improvement with a notable victory at the Mike Todd Kirton Friday Five, the first race in the Friday Five Series.

Philippa Unthank, seen here winning the Suffolk Schools Cross Country Championships, was the first f

Philippa Unthank, seen here winning the Suffolk Schools Cross Country Championships, was the first female finsher at Kirton. - Credit: Archant

Gavin had finished 13th in 28mins 45secs at last year's Kirton event, but last Friday he led home a bumper field of 423 runners in a personal best of 27:54 over the same five-mile course, along country lanes from Kirton Recreation Ground.

Not only was that was 51 seconds quicker than last year, but it was also 16 seconds inside his five-mile PB from Great Bentley last summer (28:10).

It has been a cracking first half of the year for Gavin, who posted a personal best of 2:40:10 at the London Marathon in April, after setting a PB of 1:15:22 for the half-marathon at Colchester in March. He also represented Suffolk at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships over the winter.

Samuel Burdett, of Stowmarket Striders, was a close runner-up to Gavin at Kirton, finishing just six seconds adrift in 28:00.

Jack Wilkinson was third with 28:38, and also in the top five were James Wilson (Saxmundham) in 28:39 and Ipswich JAFFA's Adam Wade (28:42). JAFFA club-mate Keith Tilley was the leading veteran with 28:48 in seventh.

Under-20 athlete Philippa Unthank was the first female finisher, marking her competitive debut over five miles with a winning time of 30:41.

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Unthank, of Ipswich Harriers, stopped the clock at 30:41 in 26th spot overall, finishing ahead of runner-up Jessie Gooderham (Saint Edmund Pacers) in 31:15 and Colchester Harriers' Aiko Henington, who was also the leading female veteran in 31:29.

Meanwhile, an encouraging 111 young runners took part in the supporting Kirton junior race.

An in-form Lewis Sullivan, of the Pacers, was first home in 8mins 12secs, followed by Colchester & Tendring's Archie Harrington (9:39) and Stowmarket Striders' Jake Hayward (9:41).

West Suffolk AC's Max Jeffery was the first under-11 (9:56) and Ipswich Harriers' Iwan Fothergill first under-13 with 10:04.

Pacers' Stephanie Allen was the first girl in 10:42, pursued by CATS' Rachel Sandercock (10:47) and Pacers' Eloise Perry (11:00), who was also the first under-13.

JAFFA's Millie-Rose Downs won the under-11s with 11:54, while the top under-9s were Maddox Reilly (13:18) and Ezra Simmons (14:11).


Leading results from the Kirton Friday Five (five miles):

Top 30 men: 1 T Gavin (Felixstowe RR) 27:54; 2 S Burdett (Stowmarket Striders) 28:00; 3 J Wilkinson (Unaffiliated) 28:38; 4 J Wilson (Saxmundham) 28:39; 5 A Wade (Ipswich JAFFA) 28:42; 6 K Hayles (Sudbury Joggers) 28:43; 7 K Tilley (JAFFA) 28:48; 8 A Howlett (Framlingham Flyers) 28:48; 9 J Marter (Fram/Flyers) 28:59; 10 M Bennett (JAFFA) 28:59.

11 A Coughlan (Vegan Run) 29:03; 12 N Clarke (JAFFA) 29:12; 13 M Axton (St Edmund Pacers) 29:14; 14 C Cooke (Pacers) 29:15; 15 A Ellis (Felixstowe RR) 29:51; 16 N Hardwick (Un) 29:55; 17 D Sheppard (Fram/Flyers) 29:57; 18 A Smy (Fram/Flyers) 30:04; 19 W Campbell (JAFFA) 30:09; 20 G Scanlon (Colchester Harr) 30:21.

21 M Hayden (Fram/Flyers) 30:24; 22 S Brooke (Felixstowe) 30:25; 23 A Bell (Hadleigh Hares) 30:27; 24 P West (Col/Harr) 30:37; 25 S Buchan (Stowmarket) 30:38; 26 M Watts (Pacers) 30:43; 27 C Perry (Pacers) 30:57; 28 W Walker (Haverhill) 31:06; 29 M Allen (JAFFA) 31:08; 30 P Brackenbury (Un) 31:10.

Top 10 ladies: 1 P Unthank (Ips/Harr) 30:41; 2 J Gooderham (Pacers) 31:15; 3 A Henington (Col/Harr) 31:29; 4 A Heather-Hayes (Hadleigh) 32:03; 5 E Drury (Sudbury)32:14; 6 A Goodwin (Ips/Harr) 32:39; 7 K King (Pacers) 33:28; 8 R Fish (Un) 34:21; 9 E Zethraeus (Gt Bentley RC) 34:22; 10 R Pittman (Springfield) 34:38.

Male veterans, over-40: Marter. O-45: Tilley. O-50: Campbell O-55: Cooke. O-60: T Back (JAFFA) 32:07. O-65: N Clarke (Newmarket) 35:04. O-70: P Lockett (Newquay) 41:12.

Female veterans, over-40: Henington. O-45: S-A Bowmen (Sudbury) 35:39; O-50: M Narey (Stowmarket) 36:36. O-55: Pittman, O-60: B Godbold (JAFFA) 40:10. O-65: V Taylor (Fram) 46:53.

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