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UK Athletics

highgate harriers night of the 10,000m pbs set to be thrilling british championships

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20 April 2016

Some of the best distance runners from across the UK and Europe are set to compete at the Highgate Harriers Night of the 10,000m PBs on Saturday May 21st.

The event is free for the public, with spectators able to watch the action from close quarters in lane three as the athletes do battle to be crowned British and English champion as well as secure places in the British Athletics team for the 10,000m at the Rio Olympic Games.

The first two eligible British athletes past the post in the A races will be guaranteed a place at the Olympic Games, as long as they possess a valid qualifying mark of 28:00 for men and 32:15 for women.

The women’s race will be headlined by European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey (coach: Gavin Pavey; club: Exeter) as the 42 year old bids to qualify for her fifth Olympic Games.

Pavey will face a strong test however, as Kate Avery (Tony Simmons; Shildon) and Beth Potter (Mick Woods; Shaftesbury Barnet) have already achieved the qualifying mark for the Olympic Games with times of 31:41.44 and 32:03.45.

Further names to look out for will be Rhona Auckland (Joyce Hogg; Banchory Stonehaven), Jessica Coulson (Mick Woods; Stockport) and Lily Partridge (self; Aldershot Farnham & District), who are all within sight of 32:15, and Charlotte Arter (James Thie; Cardiff), who has been in excellent form over the winter.

A European element will be added to the women’s race by France’s Sophie Duarte, the 2013 European Cross Country Champion, and two-time Olympian Krisztina Papp of Hungary.

European silver medallist Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau; AFD) is the standout name in the men’s race, which will get underway at 8.15pm. His time of 27:42.62 is comfortably under the Rio qualifying mark and he will be hopeful of repeating his win at this event from 2014.

Vernon’s most likely challengers are Inter Counties Cross Country champion Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans; Swansea), Jonny Hay (Woods; AFD), Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin; Southend), Ross Millington (Steve Vernon; Stockport) and Mitch Goose (Tim Ash; Norwich).

There will be a total of six 10,000m races, starting at 5pm and climaxing with the elite men’s and women’s races at 8.15pm and 9pm respectively, with an Inter London Borough School Relays race taking place at 3.30pm. This will be preceded by a legends coaching seminar, featuring 1984 London Marathon winner Charlie Spedding, 1982 Commonwealth 5000m silver medallist and British 10k road record holder Nick Rose and Eamonn Martin, former British 10,000m record holder and the last British man to win the London Marathon in 1993.

Event organiser Ben Pochee said: “The Highgate Harriers Night of the 10,000m PBs will be a unique experience because our tight knit grassroots community have truly made it their own. In four short years we as an athletics family have created an elite PB platform via lane 3 passion and I believe this year we’re close to the initial goal of hosting Europe’s leading 10,000m event. On May 21st our loyal supporters will be rewarded with front row seats to watch Pierre de Coubertin’s vision (“the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well”) unfold over 25 mesmerising laps. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our club friends for spreading the word and personally can’t wait to share the spectacle with everyone at Parliament Hill.”

The event is free for spectators and will also have live music and entertainment, with food and drink available for purchase.