Video/Gallery: Inaugural Twilight Race through Ipswich proves a success

Twilight Race

Twilight Race

More than 900 runners including top international athletes took to the streets of Ipswich this evening in the town’s first Twilight Race.

Twilight Race running through Ipswich town centre

Twilight Race running through Ipswich town centre

Elite runners, including Olympic athlete Chris Thompson, took on a 5k route including passing through the home of Ipswich Town, Portman Road.

They set off at 7pm with men’s winner Ryan McLeod crossing the finishing line at Suffolk New College just 14 minutes 10 seconds later.

Commenting on the event, organised by Ipswich JAFFA Running Club, McLeod said: “The organisers have done a brilliant job, especially for a first event – it is one of the best I have been to.

“It was a fantastic course going through the town centre, having roads closed is a big thing.

5k race winner Ryan McLeod crosses the finish line.

5k race winner Ryan McLeod crosses the finish line.

“There were really good crowds with people screaming and shouting, and a band, it was brilliant.

“I really enjoyed it, and it’s even better to win. I’m really pleased and hope to come back in future years – I think someone will set a sub-13 minutes at some point.

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“It is a good time of year, everyone is in shape for the track season so you will get some good times.”

He was closely followed by second place Andy Heyes in 14’ 12” and Thompson in third at 14’ 15”, while Jessica Coulson won the ladies’ race in 15’ 56”.

Race organiser Carl Ashton said: “I am absolutely delighted with how it has gone.

“With any brand new event there is always a little uncertainty but the early feedback has been very positive.

“It’s the first time we have had international runners in Ipswich and it is something we want to bring back in the future. We want the event to continue and hope it will be quite big in years to come.

“For that it is really important the top athletes go away with a good experience and we will invite them back to defend their title.

The 10k race, which saw two laps of the town and began at 7.30pm, was won by Tom Fairbrother from the Woodbridge Shufflers in 33’ 30”, with Samantha Amend leading home the women in a time of 36’ 33”.

Thompson, who is hoping to claim at spot at the Rio Olympics next year despite having surgery on an achilles injury just eight months ago, said: “I had no idea what to expect today, but to race as I did and not be far off a personal best is great.

“If I can I’d like to qualify for the Olympics this side of Christmas, and I’m not ashamed to admit it bit if I have a good run I think there’s a medal opportunity there.

“Thank you for having me in Ipswich and if I’m not back next year I will be back at some point in the future.”

Ipswich mayor Glen Chisholm said: “This is a fantastic event, really well turned-out, and well done to everyone who took part.”

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