Firefighters 5

2017 Firefighters 5

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Bradford Airedale Athletics Club hosted the 2017 Firefighters 5 (formerly the West Yorkshire 5) on Sunday 13th August. The race was a great success with the event attracting its largest ever field of 270 runners from many local parkrun’s and clubs as well as FRS personnel from various brigades around the country.

The day started off a little over cast and cloudy, but by the time the runners were ready to be underway, the sun had once again arrived. With the returning winner from last year (Joe Sagar, Spenborough & District AC) and the winner from 2015 (Jonathan Johnson, Rotherham Harriers & AC) both lining up, it was expected to be a fast race from the off. From the start a group of half a dozen or so surged to the front and quickly established a strong pace, by the time they had left the HQ site, this group were down to two (Joe Sagar and Jonathan Johnson). For the next 3 and a half miles these two traded places, but were never more than a few feet apart.

As we passed the Saville Arms pub, neither men opted for a well-deserved drink (of water). The volunteers staffing the water station, knew that those behind would soon be there and many would take up this option. As the two made their way up Whitehall Road and the 4 mile marker appeared in site, it was Jonathon’s time to make a break for home. As he passed the Whitehall Road entrance, his lead had grown to 30 or so metres and by the time he crossed the line, he was 18 seconds in front of Joe.


The top 3 male finishers were:

Jonathan Johnson, Rotherham Harriers & AC, 27:01:00

Joe Sagar, Spenborough & District AC, 27:18:00

David Herdsman, Valley Striders, 28:33:00


The top 3 female finishers were:

Abbie Holyoake, Leeds City AC, 34:18:00

Michaela Clark, Abbey Runners, 34:36:00

Carly Miller, Oakwell RunFIT, 35:20:00


In the FRS race West Yorkshire secured the team prize with 3rd, 4th and 5th FRS places. However the top FRS prize went to Matthew Tonks of Warwickshire FRS in a time of 29:33 which made him 5th overall.


The full results can be downloaded from the Records and Results Tab (below).


Previous year’s results, records and course information can also be found on the tabs below.


For any further details please contact Dave Teggart at


The instructions went something like this:

“It’s easy, you go out of the gate and turn left, go up to the top of the hill and left again. Stay on there for a couple of hundred yards and turn left and go all the way down the hill to the bottom. From there it’s left again and up the hill to the top, a final left and your back at the gate. There, I told you it was easy!”

That’s all there is to the West Yorkshire 5…

Nearly 40 years later it sounds just as easy, however, as many have found out the hills don’t get any smaller and the bits in between don’t get any longer. Since the first race the course has changed a little, for a good number of years we started on Whitehall Road by the motorway bridge so as to make it a full 5 miles and in later years we moved the start back into the Headquarters site. The race isn’t going to help break any PB’s as its got lots of climbing involved, the first hill is nice and gentle and lasts one and a quarter miles from the start. Then you get nearly two miles of downhill, with the final sting in the tail going upwards all the way to the finish with the exception of the last 300 metres.

That simple 5 mile race was borne of several major events that occurred within the Fire Service during 1974. Firstly the demise of the County Borough Fire Brigades and the creation of the West Yorkshire Fire Service. This coincided with the move to Headquarters by David Edward Atkinson as a Staff Officer, thus bringing about the meeting of himself and a certain Charles David Turpin.

Charlie and Dave had remembered the days of the West Riding Road Race (6 miles) that had some years earlier, been a popular event. The race had been abandoned some years previous due to a minor hiccup called the M62. However, during Dave’s lunch-time training sessions he quickly realised that with a little imagination a 5 mile course could be created that didn’t involve crossing any roads, so a tentative approach was made to the then Chief Fire Officer Kevin Horan, who took the idea with great enthusiasm that has lasted the many years since.

In the early days there was a great effort to make the event a little different by ensuring that all the finishers were awarded a certificate with their time on it. It was also arranged to have every mile marked (Something we expect nowadays, but not back then!). Accommodation was to be provided for teams wishing to stay overnight at FSHQ and all results were published on the day of the race (Again a rarity at the time).

On occasions entertainment was arranged for teams that stayed overnight. On one occasion a visit to a Working Men’s Club was arranged as a team from down south, had never seen one. On being asked what was the traditional dress to wear in Working Men’s Clubs. It was replied that the wearing of flat caps and mufflers was compulsory. They duly arrived kitted out with flat caps and scarves of all descriptions and insisted on wearing them at the local club. Needless to say the locals were well informed of their guest’s arrival and fun ensued…

The teams that featured prominently in the early years were London, West Yorkshire, Merseyside, Lancashire, Tyne & Wear and although the rivalry was intense, friendships made at that time still endure. There is still the odd face or two around that remember it way back when.

One of the previous winners went on to international level, Geoff Smith of Liverpool, won the Boston Marathon twice (1984 & 85) and was 2nd in the New York City Marathon in 1983 in a time of 2:09:08, losing by only nine seconds.

For a lot of years the race was only open to Fire Service personnel, but in the late 80’s the race was opened up to anyone and everyone. In the early days the 5 miles was a good guess at five miles, but the times ran suggest it may have been a little short. In the late 80’s the course was unofficially measured and made very close. In 2002 the course was officially measured and found to be about 40m short of the official 5 miles so the start and finish were moved a few meters to compensate.

The 2008 race was the 33rd time the race had been run and unfortunately was going to be the last for a number of years.

The race made a triumphant return to the race calendar in 2013 and grew larger in 2014, the 35th time the race has been hosted.

Records and Results

Course records

There are various course records due to the distances over the years. These are the best times achieved looking back over the race results available (28 out of the 35 races):


The fastest time ever (Unverified course)

  • T Bailey (Derbyshire Fire) 21:35 (1981)

The course record (Verified 5 mile course)

  • Darren Bilton (Leeds City AC) 25:11 (2004)

The fastest time over the course from the existing start/finish (Verified 5 mile course)

  • Jonathan Johnson, Rotherham Harriers & AC, 27:01:00 (2017)


The course record (Verified 5 mile course)

  • Josie Grey (Birchfield Harriers) 29:05 (2007)

The fastest time over the course from the existing start/finish (Verified 5 mile course)

  • Josie Grey (Birchfield Harriers) 29:05 (2007)

Past results

WY5 Results 1977 (80.81kb)

WY5 Results 1978 (82.2kb)

WY5 Results 1980 (10.2kb)

WY5 Results 1981 (14.41kb)

WY5 Results 1982 (48.92kb)

WY5 Results 1983 (46.15kb)

WY5 Results 1984 (48.56kb)

WY5 Results 1986 (45.92kb)

WY5 Results 1987 (67.33kb)

WY5 Results 1989 (11.39kb)

WY5 Results 1990 (16.82kb)

WY5 Results 1991 (16.25kb)

WY5 Results 1992 (13.14kb)

WY5 Results 1993 (11.5kb)

WY5 Results 1994 (33.31kb)

WY5 Results 1995 (18.94kb)

WY5 Results 1997 (19.94kb)

WY5 Results 1999 (26.72kb)

WY5 Results 2000 (15.57kb)

WY5 Results 2001 (24.42kb)

WY5 Results 2002 (14.68kb)

WY5 Results 2004 (18.55kb)

WY5 Results 2005 (44.48kb)

WY5 Results 2006 (23.08kb)

WY5 Results 2007 (44.85kb)

WY5 Results 2008 (32.64kb)

WY5 Results 2013 (44.06kb)

WY5 Results 2014 (50.49kb)

WY5 Results 2015

WY5 Results 2016

FF 5 Results 2017

Course information

The course is best described as hilly with approximately 2.5 miles going upwards, approximately 2 miles downwards and a very little bit is level (Don’t blink you may miss it).

There will be marshals at each change in direction point, please obey their commands.

The course is also marked with plenty of signs and arrows, as well as mile markers. There will be a drinks station at approximately 3½ miles.


Safety Information

There will be a lead vehicle as well as a sweep vehicle.

Please keep to the left at all times and stay on the footpath when possible. On Hunsworth Lane the footpath stops and starts, so at times you will have to run on the road (Please be careful).

There will be a race briefing at the race start at 09.55.

Please bear in mind that we are guests on the roads and cars may not expect to see a couple of hundred runners running down the road.


The route maps can be found here.

MAP 1 (116.11kb) 

MAP 2 (238.83kb)


Course Directions


From the drill ground head towards the main entrance. (Map 1)

Turn left up the main drive towards the Main House, Building Number 2. (Map 1)

At the top of the main drive turn right and go through the large gates behind Stores and Transport. (Map 1)

Once through the second pair of gates turn right, Building number 7 and head down the road back to the main entrance. (Map 1)

Turn left and immediately left again onto Bradford Road. (Map 1 and Map 2)

Continue up Bradford Rd for approximately 1¼ miles and turn left at the East Bierly sign onto South View Rd. (Map 2)

Follow this road for approximately 400m then turn left onto The Green. (Map 2)

At the end of the road turn right onto Hunsworth Lane. (Map 2)

Follow Hunsworth Lane all the way to the end and turn left at the traffic lights onto Whitehall Road. (Map 2)

Follow Whitehall Rd all the way up the hill straight over the new roundabout and on to the second roundabout. (Map 2)

Turn left at the roundabout and then the next left into the West Yorkshire Fire Service HQ main entrance. (Map 2)

Once inside the HQ turn immediate right and retrace the opening lap in the opposite direction finishing on the Drill ground near to the start. (Map 1)