PUBLISHED: 12:56 15 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:06 15 September 2017
Runners assemble at Chantry Park for the start of the 260th Ipswich Parkrun last Saturday week.
Ipswich Parkrun celebrated its fifth birthday last weekend.
True to form, I turned up a week early!
Last weekend marked the fifth anniversary of Suffolk’s oldest Parkrun – the first Ipswich Parkrun was actually staged on September 8, 2012.
I had my first taste of the Ipswich event the previoous Saturday, at the 260th race, having already visited Bury St Edmunds, Brandon and Great Cornard on the three previous weekends.
The venue was Chantry Park, the natural home of the Ipswich Parkrun, although Christchurch Park has also hosted the event at times, usually in the winter when Chantry Park is sometimes saturated.
This event has come a long way since its inception, when a field of just 95 tackled the inaugural Ipswich Parkrun on September 8, 2012.
Andrew Rooke won that day, in 16mins 37secs, while Madeleine Smith was first lady in 22:29.
The smallest field ever assembled was on Christmas Eve, 2012, when 60 toed the line, while the biggest saw 384 completed the 240th race on April 15 of this year.
The race starts from near the cricket pavilion, and is mainly on grass with a few stretches along woodland trails.
Previous Saturday’s Results
Michael Fuller, of Ipswich Harriers, won last Saturday week’s event, staged in warm sunshine on a dewy course, in 18mins 49secs. He has a best of 17:08 for this event.
Jamie Dines was the runner-up in 18:45 and Hugh Singleton was third with 19:03.
The experienced Jayne Williams, of Ipswich JAFFA, was the first female finisher in 21:28, although in the past she has registered 19:22 at her home event.
Isobel Renn, representing Vegan Runners, notched 21:39 in second, eight seconds ahead of third-placed Katie King.
Ross Tennant holds the course record for the Ipswich Parkrun, set two-and-a-half-years ago.
Tennant, a member of Ipswich Harriers at the time, clocked 15:53 on February 14, 2015. He now runs for Cambridge & Coleridge, and Durham University.
Andrew Rooke – he won the Framlingham 10K last Sunday and was the winner of the first Ipswich Parkrun – has the second best time, a 16:02 effort from April 26, 2014, while another former Ipswich Harrier track specialist, Jordan Ali, is third top with 16:10.
The ladies’ course record was broken only recently, by Charlotte Christensen at the 259th event on August 28.
Christensen now runs for Cambridge & Coleridge, although she used to be a stalwart member of Ipswich Harriers. She clocked a swift 17:35 over the 5K course less than a fortnight ago.
Fresh from setting a ‘personal worst’ for five kilometres at Great Cornard seven days ago, and having been beaten by a one-and-a-half-year-old beagle called Willow at Brandon the previous weekend, my hopes were not high.
As it happened, I managed to reverse my downward trend by running slightly faster than at Cornard, with a 20:17 clocking, despite the course being not so quite flat.
Perhaps it’s because I have a soft spot for Chantry Park.
I used to run here once every winter in the midweek RAF East Anglian Cross Country League, which staged races on Wednesday afternoons (and still do).
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