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Firefighters 5

 Firefighters 5 Competitors Information 2021

The Return of the Firefighters 5 Road Race – 8th August 2021

The 2021 Firefighters 5 is due to take place on Sunday 8th August 2021 starting at 10:30am.  Its once again hosted by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) and the Bradford Airedale Athletics Club ( Whilst the world around us has changed much over the last 18 months, the course remains the same, an undulating 5 miles around the Birkenshaw area, near to WYFRS HQ..

Online entries are through Racebest, the race entry page is now live and can be viewed at, with entry fees of £10.00 for Fire Service and Attached Runners or £12.00 for Unattached Runners.

We are currently not going to take on the day entries, the entries will close around a week before the race, to allow for race numbers to be packaged and mailed.

The race is being planned as though we remain under Step 3 of the UK government COVID Roadmap. This means that there won’t be a mass start, runners will be assembled in a large open area prior to the race start and will be brought forwards in groups of 10 to the start line every 15 seconds to allow for social distancing. Runners are asked to self-seed themselves with other runners of similar abilities on the day itself. We also ask that whilst runners are being assembled and heading to the start line, that they wear a face covering, such as a buff (other brands are available) or similar, that can be pulled down once racing.

We are asking runners to turn up ready to race, unfortunately many of the normal features such as changing facilities, bag drops etc. will not be available, and that runners leave the venue following their completion of the race with a minimum of delay. We will of course create results, these will be based on Chip Time, not Gun Time and will be posted online shortly after the last person finishes, we will forward the prize vouchers for winners in each category to the supplied address.

Whilst this is quite a list of things we are not going to do or are extra things that we are asking you to do, it is in the best interests of all of us to maintain these precautions. Having said all of that, we may find that things change for the better and we will continue to review all of our safety/COVID measures up to the day of the event itself.

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

For 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.

In 2018 the race once again established itself as a favourite of the local clubs, with many perennial returnees.  The course was changed very slightly in this year, due to the sale of some land around the Fire Service HQ and the new course re-measured and certified as 5 miles by Course Certificate 18/362, with full details being available here.

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)

  • Joe Sagar (Spenborough & District AC) 26:54 (2019)


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

FF 5 Results 2018

FF 5 Results 2019

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 10:25.

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.


Please see the 2018 Competitors Info here


Course Directions

Start at the edge of the drill ground and head past the finish line towards the Bradford Road entrance.

Turn left up the main drive.

Turn left into the small car park and run down the link road into the main car park.

At the bottom of the main car park turn left and pass the start and finish line.

Complete a 2nd loop the same as the first.

At the bottom of the main car park for the 2nd time, turn right and head towards the exit on Whitehall Road.

Turn left on to Whitehall Road.

Turn left at the roundabout on to Bradford Road and continue up past the West Yorkshire Fire Service HQ entrance towards Birkenshaw.

Continue up Bradford Rd for approximately 1¼ miles and turn left at the East Bierley sign onto South View Road.

Follow this road for approximately 400m then turn left onto Hunsworth Lane.

Follow Hunsworth Lane all the way to the end (approx. 1.5 miles) and turn left at the traffic lights onto Whitehall Road.

Follow Whitehall Road all the way up the hill; go straight over the mini roundabout and pass the entrance to WYFRS and on to the second roundabout.

Turn left at the roundabout on to Bradford Road (you’ve already run this little bit).

Take the next left into the West Yorkshire Fire Service HQ.

Once inside the HQ turn left and to the finish line on the drill ground.