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BMC Nike Grand Prix inc. UK Challenge preview

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Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers) will keep a close eye on the weather before deciding whether to chase the World Championships 10,000m qualifying time of 31 minutes 40 seconds at Watford on Saturday night, 30 June.


The World Trials are incorporated in the Norwich Union England Athletics 10,000m Championships, which form the highlights of the second of this summer’s BMC Nike Grand Prix meetings, incorporating the UK Challenge. The tree-lined Woodside Stadium track is a great favourite with endurance runners who feel cocooned from the wind – but, of course, it does not have a roof!


“I’m a bit worried about the forecast,” said Pavey, who clocked 32:21.19 in her first shot at the distance at the European 10,000m Challenge in April. “I’m definitely up for it and if the gales and storms are horrendous, I shall warm up in the hope that it calms down at the last minute.


“But there’s a slight possibility I will decide not to do it. I can’t risk running 25 laps in spikes just for the sake of running it. It would destroy my calf muscles. It would be a shame, because we’ve got a good pacemaker and everything is set-up.


“If the worst comes to the worst, I would have to look at other options with Alan Storey [the UK Athletics Senior Performance Manager for Endurance]. It might involve trying to set up another 10k race, because there’ll be more than me wanting to chase a time, or I might consider going for the 5k in Osaka because I have the time from last year. But hopefully it won’t come to that.”


Pavey is set to line-up in a Watford field that includes GB internationals Hayley Haining (City of Glasgow), Gemma Phillips-Miles (Kendal), Kate Reed (Bristol and West), Jo Wilkinson (Bedford and County), Hayley Yelling (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) and Liz Yelling (Bedford and County). It is due to start at 21:09 when traditionally the weather is at its calmest.


The 23 entered for the Men’s 10,000m include last year’s silver medallist Dave Mitchinson (Newham and Essex Beagles) and bronze medallist Gareth Raven (Sale Harriers Manchester). Their prime target will be the Power of 10 national standard of 29:30, which has been beaten so far by only one UK athlete this year – steeplechaser Andrew Lemoncello (Fife AC) running for his USA university.


The programme starts at 17:45 and features many athletes chasing qualifying times at 800m, 1500m and 3000m steeplechase for this summer’s World Championships, European Under 23 and Junior Championships plus the Sainsbury’s English Schools Championships.


For more details of the Watford meeting, including timetable and start lists, please click here




Many of the coaches and athletes at Watford will be interested in an important project about to be launched by UK Athletics. An intense examination of what training loads are required to make good juniors great seniors will begin on Wednesday 18 July (7.30pm) at the UK Athletics Endurance Performance Centre at St Mary’s University Twickenham.


UKA will present a seminar entitled “training loads and progression towards performance for young endurance athletes” – and all interested athletes, parents and coaches will be given free admission.


The event, being arranged during the annual London Marathon Young Athletes’ Training Camp at St Mary’s, will take the form of a question and answer workshop.


“This is the starting point of a very important discussion,” says UKA Senior Coordinator for Endurance, Spencer Barden. “We have loads of good juniors who we intend to ensure become great seniors. We have every confidence that this seminar will give us much useful information to start a meaningful and constructive debate.”


Barden, who progressed from successful junior to international senior during his own running career, will be joined on the panel by:


Alan Storey, UK Athletics Senior Performance Manager for Endurance, who has coached athletes to medals at Olympic Games and World Championships;


Wendy Sly, 1984 Olympic Games 3000m silver medallist who is now mentoring European Junior Cross Country Champion Steph Twell;


Mick Woods, coach to Twell and many more of the Aldershot, Farnham and District AC squad that dominates age group races in domestic road and cross country championships;


Charlotte Purdue, the UK School Games 3000m champion who is one of Woods’ squad;


Andy Vernon, the 2005 European Junior Cross Country and 5000m medallist who is based at St Mary’s;


Liz Yelling, who has emerged from the shadow of Paula Radcliffe at Bedford and County AC to become a Commonwealth Games marathon medallist and UK cross country champion in her own right;


Mark Buckingham, physiotherapist who helped develop the screening protocol for UKA, worked with Team GB at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, has been a regular with Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland teams at championships for the last 11 years;


Callum Orr, former secondary school head teacher, now UK Athletics Head of Coaching and Teaching with responsibility for the development of a coaching system which will ensure successful junior to senior transitions throughout athletics.


Coaches, athletes and parents wishing to attend the seminar and contribute to this important discussion should email either of the UKA Performance Coaches at St Mary’s, Craig Winrow at cwinrow@ukathletics.org.uk or Mick Woods at mwoods@ukathletics.org.uk for further information.