Twelfth: Orangemen prepare for friendly ‘sash dash’ in Fivemiletown

Under starter's orders are Orangemen Brian Haslett, Mark Robinson and Ashley Robinson. Cheering them on are children Matthew McClung, Hannah Grace McClung and Amy McClung
Under starter's orders are Orangemen Brian Haslett, Mark Robinson and Ashley Robinson. Cheering them on are children Matthew McClung, Hannah Grace McClung and Amy McClung

Orangemen will be running as well as walking at the Twelfth in Fivemiletown when they take part in the “Fastest Orangeman in the West Race”.

Members of the Institution will be “on their marks” on Monday before they go head-to-head in 30 metre sprints – dressed in full regalia, including bowler hats and collarettes.

Although prizes are on offer, competitors in junior, veteran and open categories will primarily be racing for pride and the acclaim of the field.

A Commonwealth Games athlete is expected to be among the contenders being put through their paces.

Table tennis ace Ashley Robinson, 22, represented Northern Ireland at the Games in Scotland in 2014.

It is not yet clear whether his training regime will transfer to the track but insiders have made the Clogher man an early favourite.

District Secretary Ian McClung said the event was an opportunity to show that the Twelfth is not just about traditional activities like bonfires and marching.

“The short race is very much a light-hearted affair and we invite as many as possible to participate, so please come prepared to take part; it promises to be an event not to be missed.”

The Twelfth in Fivemiletown will be a cross-border affair, with Orange brethren from Co Monaghan joining with approximately 25 lodges from two districts – Fivemiletown and Annahoe – and a similar number of bands for the close-knit Tyrone demonstration.

It is traditionally one of the smallest demonstrations in the Province and is known for its family-friendly atmosphere – in fact, sixty local businesses have supported the production of a book called “The Family Twelfth” featuring articles from local lodges.

The Orange races are scheduled to start at 3.30pm, beside the platform, after the formal proceedings have concluded.