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Jack Millar records cracking time on his way to victory at Great Bentley Friday Five

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 July 2017

Jack Millar, who won the Great Bentley Friday Five in a superb 24mins 12secs last Friday evening

Jack Millar, who won the Great Bentley Friday Five in a superb 24mins 12secs last Friday evening

Archant

Jack Millar posted one of the quickest five-mile times achieved in the UK this year, and in only his second outing over the distance, at the annual Great Bentley Friday Five last Friday evening.

The impressive Millar triumphed in a scorching 24mins 12 secs, putting him in the top 10 for five-mile times recorded in 2017.

The relaxed Ipswich Harrier – he doesn’t even mind whether he is known as Jack or John – was more than two minutes clear of the field following a dynamic display of front-running.

Tim Woulfe, of Braintree & District, took second spot in 26:31, just five seconds ahead of Kieran McMorran, who registered 26:36 for third in the colours of Ipswich JAFFA.

The top five at Great Bentley, over the traditionally fast five-mile rural route, staged from Great Bentley Village Hall, was completed by Springfield Striders’ Peter Robinson (26:44) and Ipswich Harriers’ Tom Adams (27:07).

Under-20 athlete Adams secured the overall Friday Five Series, for a consistent showing over all five races, including victories at Kirton, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds. He was also third at the Framlingham event.

Likewise, over-45 veteran Odette Robson rubber-stamped her own ladies’ Friday Five Series crown by making it five wins out of five. She clocked 29:39 at Great Bentley, in 29th slot overall.

Under-20 Alice Goodwin, of Ipswich Harriers, was second female in 31:20.

But last Friday really belonged to Millar, who this year moved up to the under-23 age group from the under-20 section.

“I’m very happy,” enthused Millar, shortly after his fine win.

“I was surprised by how well I managed to sustain the pace throughout the race. I went through the first mile in 4mins 36secs, at which point I was thinking – ‘this is a bit quick.’

“But I managed to keep doing sub-five-minute miles, in what was only my second five-miler,” added Millar.

A steeplechase specialist on the track, teenager Millar is currently a first year maths student at Bath University.

He has obviously benefited from his increased training schedule at Bath, suggesting that he could go faster still on the roads, over the years to come.

“I’m training hard, and enjoying it, but I’m not doing so many races,” explained Millar, who comes from Helmingham, near Otley, to the north of Ipswich.

“I’m getting in the miles, and we are fortunate at Bath to have several good triathletes, who happen to be excellent over 10K.

“My main aim was to try and go under 25 minutes. That was my target.

“I had actually had a slight injury recently, which had prevented me from getting the full extension to my stride in training. I’ve been coming back from that.”

Millar’s debut over five miles was at the Kirton Friday Five last summer, when he finished a close runner-up to Andrew Rooke in 24:57. Rooke was just two minutes quicker.

Looking at the current UK rankings, for five miles, Calum McKenzie has the fastest time of 23:38 at Greenock, back in February.

Millar’s Great Bentley time should see him in the top 10, perhaps as high as seventh.

Millar’s main coach is Stephen Hicks, at Ipswich Harriers, while his hurdling, conditioning and strength exercises are overseen at Bath.

He has raced only sparingly this year, finishing 11th at the English National Cross Country Championships, staged at Nottingham last February. Earlier that month, he was 17th at the British Universities (BUCS) Cross Country Championships in Sheffield.

His first outing on the track was at the BUCS Championships in Bedford, where he finished eighth in the final of the 3,000m steeplechase.

Last year, he won a silver medal at the English Schools Athletics Championships over the 2,000m steeplechase at Gateshead, having finished fifth the previous year in the same event.

“I’ve been running for about four years now,” revealed Millar.

“I’ve got two more years at Bath University. It’s going well at the moment, and I’m looking forward to running the Twilight 5K in Ipswich next month.

“At Great Bentley, with Andrew Rooke not running, I just decided to go out hard from the first mile.

“There was no one else around,” added Millar.

At last year’s Twilight 5K, Millar clocked a personal best of 14mins 42secs. He was first in his under-20 age group and sixth overall.

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