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Orion Harriers at the Forest Five

Five Alive!

This is the story of five races at 5 miles in five counties last weekend...

Five miles is the perfect stepping stone between the more numerous metric race distances of 5K and 10K, but the once highly popular event can be difficult to find – unless, of course, you know your way around runABC South's brilliant Find My Next Race search facility.

runABC South reporter Alan Newman was pleased to see a bunch of fives on the calendar last weekend, so here is his round-up of the fast and furious action from five 5s in five counties...

We start in Suffolk with the Stowmarket Striders Friday Five on Friday 30 June, set in scenic Haughley Park. This is officially classified as a multi-terrain race due to the first half-mile run in the park but is predominantly on quiet country roads that produce fast times. This weekend was leg five of the five-race Friday Five Series – certainly following our theme for this report!

There were 362 finishers – the highest number of our featured five – with wins for Alex Gladley (Colchester & Tendring AC, 25:30) and Sarah Osborne (Newmarket Joggers, 32:04). Both scored 500 points in the Friday Five Series and you can unravel the scoring system and final overall placings here.

Orion Harriers Forest Five on Saturday 1 July was also part of a club series – this time with just three races. The races are held from the Orion Clubhouse, Jubilee Retreat, right on the edge of Epping Forest in North Chingford and the adjacent forest trails provide the course. The July Forest Five was race two of three in the series and had 107 finishers, with victories for Orion Harriers' M40 Joe Dale (29:36) and Claire Huggins (36:06).

Over in Oxfordshire, we had the Didcot 5 in Ladygrove Park – home of the local parkrun – on Sunday 2 July. This is a flat, fast, and traffic-free race organised by Didcot Runners from Willowbrook Leisure Centre. The winners here, from 151 finishers, were Matthew Lock (Witney Road Runners, 26:20) and Kerry Wilkinson (White Horse Harriers, 32:14).

Cliffe Woods 5 Mile race on Sunday famously boasts no cliffs and no woods but a swift road course and views of Cooling Castle at halfway. Organised by Sporting Events UK and incorporating the Southern Counties Veterans championships, there were wins for M40 Andrew Pickett (Dartford Harriers, 28:10) and Amy Seager (South Kent Harriers, 31:19) from 255 runners.  

Finally, we drop in on the fragrant Claygate Country 5, a popular annual race organised by the Claygate Flower and Village Show Society since the 1980s. Race HQ is the Claygate Recreation Ground, close to Chessington World of Adventures, and the attractive course is on footpaths through Claygate Common and Arbrook Common. Sunday's edition saw 334 finishers and nippy wins for a trail race by Jim Lurkins (The Stragglers, 28:45) and under-15 junior Emmeline Orbell (Aldershot, Farnham & District, 32:37).

Photo: Orion Harriers at Forest Five via Facebook

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