Sunday, 24 May 2015

Night of the 10,000m PBs

Last weekend's Night of the 10,000m  PBs, hosted by Highgate Harriers at the Parliament Fields track, was a great success (Saturday 16th May). This was the third year of this groundbreaking event aiming to raise standards in the 10,000m through creating a festival of long distance running in London - and maybe even as the programme put it 'provide a platform to find the next Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe'.

After some earlier school competitions, there were six races getting progressively faster, with the final two races acting as the British and English national championships for men and women

The first race gets underway -  first woman finisher Julia Davis (Mornington Chasers)  near the front.
A feature of the event is to crank up the atmosphere and excitement, with a samba band, DJs, beer tent and the crowd encouraged to stand in lane three and give up close and personal encouragement to the runners.

Danielle Fegan (Armagh AC) - who lead the women for much of the 1st race - runs past the samba band

Runners were each asked to choose one inspirational tune for the DJ to play when they were racing -
I can report that the tracklist included Dexys Midnight Runners 'Geno' and New Order's 'Blue Monday'.
Athletics legend David Bedford (who held the 10,000m world record from 1973-1977) was on hand to give out prizes, as was snooker player and keen runner Ronnie O'Sullivan

David Bedford with winner of the 1st race, Davide Covolo
(who is also an international alpine skier)
But if the event was a lot of fun, it certainly wasn't a fun run - there were some very serious performances. The final men's race/national champs was won by Jonny Mellor (Liverpool Harriers) in 28.46.80, with the first 18 runners all coming in sub-30. In the women's champs, Jessica Coulson (Stockport Harriers) led for much of the race, before a great finish by Rhona Auckland  (Banchory-Stonehaven AC) saw the latter close a big gap in the last couple of laps to win comfortably in 32.28.32. Auckland, Coulson and third place Aly Dixon all got PBs.

The Knight of 10,000m PBs
 So Night of 10,000m PBs did what it said on the tin. Look out for it next year, it's a great event for spectators and admission is free.

Rhona Auckland being interviewed after her victory - watch the interview on Eight Lane
The latest issue of Like the Wind magazine was launched at the event, by coincidence (or was it magic?) an article on Night of 10,000 m PBs in it features a picture of a dejected looking Rhona Auckland at last year's event. What a difference a year makes.

Simon Freeman, editor of Like the Wind, at the track

Video footage on Vinco-  watch from about 1:59 to catch last few laps of women's champs, followed by men's.

Stuart Beaney, Kent AC (centre)

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