Sometimes in athletics it is good to try to do something differently to maintain the sport that we all love and encourage more to join in. This was the thinking behind the Fast 5,000s, inspired by the BMC and the hugely successful Highgate Harriers Night of the 10,000 PBs, the Bristol and West Fast 5,000s came into being.
It was months in the planning but eventually Saturday 22nd July 2017 arrived and the Club’s ‘Night of the Fast 5,000s got underway at Yate Outdoor Sports Centre.
The weather was kind with the wind not too blustery and just the odd spit and spot of rain until everyone was driving home. In the end there were nine races with 116 finishers and there were 75 personal bests and 17 seasons bests.
In the week there was much coming and going as athletes tried to find the right race. Race entry coordinator Robbie Stewart did his utmost to ensure everyone was in the race of their choice and with an appropriate pacemaker, not an easy task. With many late withdrawals letting us know we were able to offer places to others, but it was a shame to see some athletes choosing not to turn up without notifying the organisers of their decision not to race.
The first race off was the ‘H’ race and clearly the club had achieved one of the aims for the event which was to encourage athletes who had run 5k before but never on the track to give track running a go. Chris DRISCOLL was the first finisher in 19:23.7 ; his previous PB was 20:30 and he was looking for a ‘sub-20’ Well done Chris you more than achieved that aim. Behind him there were several female athletes in the field and Caitlin LLOYD of Bristol & West was second in 20:31.1 just missing her target of 20:30. Alice SMITH and Nicola OLDROYD finished third and fourth.
In the ‘G’ race Jake LAWRENCE was a clear winner in 18:48.2 which is far quicker than his road PB of 19:38 and was just over 10 seconds quicker than his 18:59 target. Obviously his track sessions at WISE stood him in good stead for his track debut. Again there was a good gender mix in the race with Jo FIEFIELD in third place the first female finisher in 19:33.0. Jo was also looking for a sub-19 minute run so may have been disappointed, though track racing is a different beast.
In the ‘F’ race Richard NOBLE of Westbury Harriers took the honours in 18:14.3 just outside his target time, behind him Ellen HARRISON ran strongly throughout and finished with 18:21.8 close to her target of 18:20.
In the ‘E’ race eight of the fifteen finishers achieved PBs with the first finisher Philip ROBERTS in 17:23.1. Again it was a female athlete in second place as Laura GENT recorded 17:25.1, well under her 17:50 on the road.
In the ‘D’ race Mathew HOWARD won in 16:43.5 achieving his target of 16:45; behind him Alex BAKER clocked 16:52.1 in second place. There was a good battle between the ladies in this race with Fiona MARKS (Bristol & West Athletic Club) finishing fifth in 17:03.6 with Emma STEPTO of Cornwall Athletic Club close behind clocking 17:04.8 in seventh place. There were five PBs from the fifteen finishers but for athletes like Fiona Marks who was running her first track 5,000 metres the race got her off her marks with a very solid time that compares favourably to her 17:22 road 5k PB.
In the ‘C’ race some expressed frustration afterwards that the race wasn’t fast enough. Certainly most in the race had expressed an intention to run 16:30 or quicker and pacemaker Oli Dickinson did his bit by keeping going to 4,800 metres at the front followed only by Aidan NOBLE of Westbury with a winning run of 16:25.1. Ashley GIBSON clocked 16:30.0 as eight of the field finished in the 16:45 to 17:00 minute bracket.
There was a similar story in the ‘B’ race as Josh MOODY set off at the agreed 73 second per lap pace and no-one went with him! After a few laps Charlotte ARTER, who was hoping to run the Commonwealth Games qualifying time of 15 minutes 25 seconds, set off in pursuit as Josh was given instructions to allow her to catch up before returning to the agreed pace. This early change in pace upset Charlotte’s rhythm and although she ran 15:56.0 this was way short of what she had hoped for but still helped her to clock the fastest time of the night by a female athlete. Of those entered for the race six who had stated a target time of 15:30 failed to show. The race was won by Charlie JONES in 15:47.5 with James WATSON second in 15:48.1.
As the light faded and the floodlights came on Steve MITCHELL of Bristol & West led out the ‘A’ race which was an all male affair. Such was the quality of some of the female athletes in the earlier races that a few might have been better in this race, but this is something to learn for next time. The eighteen runners were led through three laps in 70 seconds followed by three in 69 as the field soon were strung out in single file. In the end the pacemaker went all the way but as pacemaker the race was awarded to Tom MERSON (Bristol & West) who continued his comeback following a toe operation with a 14:40.1 clocking, with Carwyn JONES from Cardiff Athletic Club – like the pacemaker a member of James Thie’s training group – runner-up in 14:43.9 as four athletes dipped under 15 minutes.
The last event on the track was the Women’s ‘A’ race which by race day had become a time trial with Kate MALTBY looking to see if she could achieve 15:25 by her own route. The first few laps were on target but then pacemaker Charlotte Taylor-Green dropped out with stitch and after passing 3,000 metres in 9:25 Kate began to slow and ended up clocking 16:06.9. A good time for a solo run but short of Kate’s aspirations.
The crowds stayed around until the end and the event was very well supported, we have already had lots of positive feedback about the first event of its kind we have run. We have lots to take on board but we will be back next year, bigger, better and with music and a BBQ…
The event was supported by Adidas and The Triathlon Shop who came down for the whole evening offering support and a chance to chat about their shop and what it offers to runners. It was great to have a sponsor offering prizes, pacer vests and supporting the race numbers. It is support like this from local businesses that make athletics events like this a little bit special and allow us to keep prices low.
A big thank you to all the officials who soon got to grips with what for almost all of them was a new experience: the races ran to time. Several of the officials were back at Yate on Sunday officiating at the YDL Upper Age Group meeting so a big think you to those officiating back-to-back days (and giving up most of their weekend to the sport).
Results are now with Power of 10 and can be found at: