Odette Robson again dominates ladies’ race at Bury Friday Five
Odette Robson celebrated her 46th birthday last October, but there are still not many female runners in East Anglia who are capable of keeping up with her on the roads.
In fact, only 15 men managed to finish in front of her at the Bury Friday Five last Friday evening, the fourth race in this summer’s five-strong series – one of those 15 was her 16-year-old son, Joe!
Not surprisingly, given that she has run quicker than six-minute-mile pace at each of the four Friday Fives – at Kirton, Stowmarket, Framlingham and Bury – she was won all of them to duly retain the Friday Five Series title that she has dominated in recent years.
A member of Saint Edmund Pacers, over-45 veteran Robson only resumed competitive running again, back in 2013.
“I don’t take it too seriously,” explained Robson, which begs the question of how fast she could go with some more serious training under her belt!
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Robson continued: “I did run at school, up until the age of 16, running in school events, but I didn’t start it up again until four or five years ago.
“I tend to go on training runs with my dog, although I do go down to the track once a week to train with the Pacers. We have a good ladies’ squad at the moment.
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“Running with my son (Joe) tends to keep me going! We are close in races, and my daughter Anna (aged 13) has also started running again recently,” added Robson, who live in Lavenham.
At last Friday’s Bury event, organised by the Pacers, Robson clocked 29mins 33secs for a testing five-mile course which includes an initial one-mile loop within Nowton Park and then a tough climb up to High Green, before the descent back to the village of Nowton.
Robson was one of only 17 runners to duck under the 30-minute barrier, and was nearly three minutes clear of her closest rival, who happened to be Pacers’ club-mate and fellow over-45 veteran Angela Joiner-Handy (32:30). Emma Attwood, of Stowmarket Striders, was third in 33:28, followed in quick succession by Pacers’ over-40 veteran Zohra Armitage (fourth in 33:46) and Ipswich JAFFA’s Sam Banks (fifth in 33:48).
But there was no one to compete with Robson, who had begun the summer by winning the Kirton Friday Five in 29:27, followed by the Stowmarket Friday Five in 29:39 and then the Framlingham Flyers Five in 29:10, which was a personal best.
Robson also scooped the Suffolk five-mile crown and broke the Suffolk over-45 county record into the bargain at Framlingham – the event incorporated the Suffolk County Five Mile Championships.
Furthermore, her Framlingham effort shot her to the top of the UK rankings for five-miles in her over-45 age group.
Now she will be looking to complete a clean-sweep at the last race in the Series, the Great Bentley Friday Five on July 7.
Looking back through the years, last season Robson won the Kirton, Stowmarket and Bury (in 29:29) titles, and was second to Sara Bird at Great Bentley, while she won at Ipswich, Stowmarket, Bury (30:03) and Great Bentley in 2015, and was second to JAFFA’s Laura Thomas at Kirton.
The two previous years, in 2013 and 2014, Robson finished a close second to Bird in both the Bury races, while again proving the most consistent over the whole Series.
But it’s not just over the relatively short five-miles that Robson excels, as proved in April when she finished fifth lady at the Brighton Marathon, in a cracking time of 2hrs 57mins 19secs.
“I’d always wanted to run a marathon, and I achieved that at Brighton this year,” said Robson.
“Unusually for me, I have managed to run all four of the Fridays Fives in under 30 minutes this summer, which is probably because I am still feeling the benefits of having trained for the Brighton Marathon.
“I’ve also managed to steer clear of injuries, which helps.
“I wouldn’t rule out running another marathon some-day.”
Ipswich JAFFA’s Helen Davies won the Brighton title in 2:42.37 (on April 7). But needless-to-say, Robson was a comfortable winner of her over-45 age group, finishing fifth lady and 70th overall. The four women in front of her were all well under the age of 40.
Meanwhile, looking back to last Friday’s Bury event, Tom Adams celebrated his third win in the Friday Five Series by leading home a field of 429 in 26:54
Michael Gilbert, of Haverhill RC, was just two seconds adrift in 26:56, with Newmarket Joggers’ Denys Olefir taking third spot with 27:25. The consistent Jim Last, of Framlingham Flyers, was fourth and the leading veteran in 27:47, pursued by the Ipswich JAFFA trio of James Hayward, Keith Tilley and Adam Wade.