First-ever Ipswich Twilight Road Races in town centre on Friday, August 14 – Runners and fundraisers urged to apply for 5k and 10k races
A new night of street races in Ipswich town centre this summer will put the town firmly on the athletics map, organisers have said.
Amateur runners in Ipswich and Suffolk are being urged to come forward and enter the inaugural Ipswich Twilight Road Races to compete in either a star-studded 5k road race or a mass participation 10k road race.
Participants will start in Rope Walk outside Suffolk New College, run past landmarks including Ipswich Town’s Portman Road stadium, Tower Ramparts and the Buttermarket before finishing at the college.
The races, sponsored by Ipswich Building Society, are aimed for anyone who enjoys running, from seasoned athletes looking to break a personal best to those new to running and hoping to complete their first-ever 10k race.
The night of racing takes place on Friday, August 14, and a variety of cash prizes are up for grabs. It is hoped the evening of road races will attract hundreds of runners and spectators lining the street.
Race director Carl Ashton, of the Ipswich JAFFA Running Club, one of the organisers, said: “In running terms this will most definitely put us on the map. This race will have more elite runners than any other race in the East of England and we think we have got the formula right.
“This is brand new and has never happened before. It is quite unique across the country.
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“If we can get the crowds and spectators lining the streets, then it will be great. If you feel you can’t get involved, please bring out the family and come and watch and support it – it will be fantastic.
“By linking the event to the Ipswich Maritime Festival weekend celebrations and the uniqueness of the twilight aspect, we expect this race to become a popular event in the future.”
He said running was becoming a “huge sport” in the Ipswich area, pointing out the weekly Saturday morning parkrun initiative broke the 1,000 participant barrier last month.
He added: “Running is going from strength to strength here and the 10k is aimed at everyone of all abilities – and for those who take part, the challenge is to beat the sunset.”
Chris Thompson, who won a silver medal for Team GB at the European Athletic Championships in 2010, said the event has “all the ingredients to become one of the best short distance road races in the UK”.
Ben Jackson, sports development officer at Suffolk Sport, said: “This is another great opportunity, providing the perfect challenge for people who might be relatively new to running or who have been running for years.
“The number of people running in Suffolk has doubled since 2005, and events like this are part of a great network of initiatives which is enabling this growth of all running clubs, events and projects throughout the county.”
Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “Events like this are a great way to utilise the space we have in the town centre. It is great to see that Ipswich JAFFA Running Club has teamed up with Ipswich Building Society, Suffolk New College and Ipswich Borough Council to organise this event and opened it up to everyone in Ipswich.”
Tony Goldson, cabinet member for health at Suffolk County Council, said the event could be “fantastic”.
He said: “A lot of hard work has been put in to set up this event and I’m sure that it will be very popular. I certainly encourage as many people as possible to get involved.
“Improving the level of fitness of people throughout Suffolk and promoting healthy lifestyles is of vital importance. The races fit perfectly alongside our established parkruns which have proved a great success and have given many people the opportunity to take up running.”
Paul Winter, chief executive of the Ipswich Building Society, said: “As a keen runner myself, I’m proud and excited that we are sponsoring Ipswich’s new Twilight run.
“I’ll be doing my best to try and qualify for the fast 5k and beat the sunset.”
The races and how to apply
There will be two road races during the Ipswich Twilight Road Races. The first race is the 5km road race starting at 7pm. The criteria is: men must have achieved a finishing time of 20 minutes or under in a 5km race or 40 minutes or under in a 10km race and women must have achieved a finishing time of 22 minutes or under in a 5km race or 44 minutes or under in a 10km race. The qualifying race must have been run since January 1, 2014 and run under UKA rules on an accurately measured course or track. Please note parkrun events do not count. It costs £10 for affiliated club runners and £12 for non-affiliated participants. The first man and woman past the finishing line will each receive £250, while £175 and £100 will be given to the men and women finishing second and third respectively. Cash prizes are also available to those aged over 35 and 40 and affiliated teams.
The second race, the ‘Twilight 10km’, entry is open to people of all abilities. It costs £15 for affiliated club runners and £17 for non-affiliated participants.
People can apply for either race now. To do so, visit http://events.ipswichjaffa.org.uk/twilight.
People taking part in either race can fundraise for any charity if they wish to, but all runners will be asked to raise cash for chosen charity Emmaus Ipswich, which provides work experience to people who unemployed, homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. For more about the charity, email email@example.com.
For Twitter updates on the event, click here.
Meanwhile, elite athletes who have already confirmed their attendance include:
Jessica Coulson: 2012 European Cross Country gold medallist and winner of the 2015 Morrisons Great Edinburgh 10km. 5km road PB – 15:43.
Aaron Scott: 2015 Cambridge Half Marathon winner. 5km road PB – 14:22.
Ryan McLeod: Team GB athlete. 5km road PB – 14:15
Paul Martelletti: 2015 Brighton Half Marathon winner, 2015 Manchester Marathon winner and world record holder for the fastest marathon in a Spider-man costume at the London Marathon 2015.