Gavin and Bird fly to victory at Bury Friday Five

The start of the junior race at tonight's Bury Friday Five, in Nowton Park. Picture: CARL MARSTON

The start of the junior race at tonight's Bury Friday Five, in Nowton Park. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

Tony Gavin and Sara Bird were crowned champions at the annual Glasswells Bury Friday Five, held at Nowton Park in fine running conditions this evening.

Action from the older of the two junior races at the annual Bury Friday Five

Action from the older of the two junior races at the annual Bury Friday Five - Credit: Archant

Gavin, of Felixstowe Road Runners, led home the field over five miles in the senior race, repeating his victory from the first event in the Friday Five Series in Kirton. He clocked a winning time of 27mins 42secs.

"My legs felt quite heavy, so the time surprised me," explained Gavin, who lives in Kirton and only started running seriously just over a year ago.

"I was new to running last year, and I really struggled on this course. There aren't many hills where I live, so I need to practise running up hills.

"I took an early lead, around the park. No one seemed to go with the pace, and I didn't look back for the rest of the race.

Lewis Sullivan, on his way to another victory in the junior race at the Bury Friday Five. Picture: C

Lewis Sullivan, on his way to another victory in the junior race at the Bury Friday Five. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant


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"I had to work hard, because my legs were heavy from all the recent training, and also running at Sudbury the previous Friday," added Gavin, who is 36 and a former local non-league footballer with Trimley Red Devils.

Freddie Adams, an under-20 athlete from Ipswich Harriers, was an excellent runner-up in 27:54, with Ipswich JAFFA's Adam Wade third in 28:00.

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Meanwhile, Sara Bird, of Ipswich JAFFA, won the ladies' title over a course that is very familiar to her - she used to be a member of West Suffolk AC, in her days as a junior, and is a previous winner of the event.

Bird clocked a winning time (gun time) of 30mins 57secs, finishing ahead of defending champion and runner-up Odette Robson (over-45 veteran), of the host club Saint Edmund Pacers, and Sudbury Joggers' Emma Drury.

Verity Valentine, with her finisher's medal after finishing first girl in the junior race at the Bur

Verity Valentine, with her finisher's medal after finishing first girl in the junior race at the Bury Friday Five - Credit: Archant

"I got ahead fairly early on, but the hill (up to High Green) is always tough," explained Bird, who was happy with her time.

Bird was a runner-up in the second event in the Friday Five Series, at Framlingham from a fortnight ago.

The normal five-mile route started with a lap of the park, before going out along rural roads to High Green, up hill, and then returning to Nowton on a fast downhill section to finish along the promenade of trees in the park.

The first race in the Series, at Kirton, was won by an in-form Gavin, while the second event at Framlingham saw a victory for Andrew Rooke, with Andrew Southwood winning the third race at Sudbury last Friday night.

Runners congregate for the start of the main five-mile race at the Bury Friday Five. Picture: CARL M

Runners congregate for the start of the main five-mile race at the Bury Friday Five. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

Likewise, the first three women's titles had been shared around, with under-20 athlete Philippa Unthank winning at Kirton, Daisy Glover blasting to victory at Framlingham, and Odette Robson triumphing at Sudbury.

There were two junior races at Bury tonight, the first for under-nines and under-sevens, and the second for under-11s, under-13s and under-15s.

Lewis Sullivan once again led home the field in the older junior race, repeating his wins from the two previous Friday events at Sudbury and Framlingham.

Running on home turf, Sullivan, of Saint Edmund Pacers, was well clear of the field with Max Berry again the runner-up, and Ben Phillips in third (and also first under-13).

Tony Gavin approaches the finish on his way to victory at the Bury Friday Five. Picture: CARL MARSTO

Tony Gavin approaches the finish on his way to victory at the Bury Friday Five. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

The top three in the under-13 event was completed by runner-up Luca Barricella and Archie Taylor, while Jake Hayward was third under-15.

Seb Melero picked up the under-11 boys' winner's trophy, ahead of Max Jeffrey and Samuel Blackwell in the same age group.

Meanwhile, Verity Valentine was the first female finisher. It was another fine run from the Saint Edmund Pacer, who was also first in her under-11 age group against much older rivals.

Stephanie Allen was first under-15 girl, ahead of Ellen Moodie and Sophie Russell, while Amelia Taylor won the under-13 age section, ahead of Georgia Barron and Sophie Gathorn-Hardy.

Bella Taylor ran well to finish behind Valentine in second in the under-11s, with Imogen Porch in third spot.

There were 85 finishers in the older junior race, and more than 30 in the younger event.

Results

Bury Friday Five:

Top 20 men (chip times): 1 T Gavin (Felixstowe RR) 27:42; 2 F Adams (Ipswich Harriers, first under-20) 27:54; 3 A Wade (Ipswich JAFFA) 28:00; 4 S Burdett (Stowmarket Striders) 28:13; 5 K Tilley (JAFFA, first over-45) 28:17; 6 T Henson (Saint Edmund Pacers) 28:19; 7 J Marter (Framlingham Flyers, first over-40) 28:24; 8 J Robson (Pacers) 28:32; 9 A Howlett (Fram/Flyers, second over-45) 28:41; 10 P Davy (Unattached, second over-40) 28:44.

11 N Clarke (JAFFA) 28:48; 12 A Bell (Haverhill RC) 28:52; 13 S Quercia-Smale (Pacers) 28:54; 14 T Kingsnorth (Pacers) 28:56; 15 A Ellis (Felixstowe RR) 28:56; 16 C Balmer (Ryston Runners) 28:59; 17 B Jacobs (Felixstowe RR) 29:08; 18 M Bennett (JAFFA) 29:10; 19 C Cooke (Pacers, first over-55) 29:12; 20 M Axton (Pacers) 29:27.

Leading ladies (gun times): 1 S Bird (JAFFA) 30:57; 2 O Robson (Pacers, first over-45) 31:40; 3 E Drury (Sudbury Joggers) 32:29; 4 K Austin (Un) 32:58; 5 A Goodwin (Ipswich Harriers) 33:06; 6 F Tideswell (Haverhill RC, second over-45) 33:11; 7 E Zethraeus (Gt Bentley RC) 33:38; 8 G Porch (Stowmarket Striders) 34:16.

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