Jo Pavey gives GB and NI the mother of all starts

Jo Pavey

Just as she did at Glasgow 2014, Jo Pavey (handicap MINUS 2.6) defied her age once again to kick away from a stellar 10,000m field and take European Championship gold at the age of 40. After 5,000m bronze in Glasgow 10 days ago, all eyes were on the mother of two to see what she could do here in Zurich and she delivered, taking victory in 32.22.39.

The race itself was steady until the last 1,000m when eventual silver medallist Clemence Calvin of France took up the running and started to whittle the 15 woman group down to a more manageable size. By the time they reached 600m to go, it was down to four and Pavey was edging closer and closer to the front. At the bell, she made her move, taking the lead for the first time - it became apparent that it was a two horse race, one which Pavey finally won as she kicked off the final bend, extending her winning margin all the way to the line.

She said: “To be honest I didn’t feel that confident – it felt like a long way! I was thinking to myself during the later stages of the race ‘I don’t know if I feel very good here’ and I had to try and remind myself that you do feel like this at the end of a 10k!

“It’s just quite a long way. I didn’t feel that confident going into last two laps but I thought I’ve got to go for it and give it all I’ve got. It does feel really different at the end of a 10k - at the end of a 5 you feel ready to go, but I felt dead! I just can’t believe I’ve come away with a gold at this age. It took me a long time to know what I have had to learn about running and I just think being a busy mum has done me a lot of good!”

Young Scot Beth Potter (handicap MINUS 1.7) also acquitted herself admirably but admitted she found the going tough when the pace really picked up towards the end, finishing fourteenth in 32.53.17.

“Since the Commonwealth Games I’ve just been really tired in training. I’ve had a breakthrough this year but I just think now it’s been a long season and I didn’t even expect to qualify for this,” she said.

On Pavey’s performance she added:

“I wasn’t sure if she’d won or not but I’ve just seen she did as I saw her out there with the flag. It’s really good and I’m taking inspiration from that, because if she’s doing it at 40 then she’s got 18 years on me!”

Unfortunately it was a tough night for the GB & NI 800m boys as both Andrew Osagie (handicap MINUS 6.4) and Michael Rimmer (handicap MINUS 6.5) failed to progress by fractions of a second. Both men have had their injury problems this year, with Osagie’s rearing in the closing stages as he dropped out of the qualifying positions.

“I was fine until the last 100m – I was working but not killing myself. But then at about 15-20 metres to go something went I think in my glute; I’ve been having problems with my whole sciatic pathway the whole year and I think it just blew out there. There was a lot of pain, a lot of uncomfortable pain. This year has been the worst year I’ve ever had; on the track and off the track it’s been horrible.”

The margin of defeat didn’t help things, as he missed out on a final spot by just 0.02 of a second. Rimmer went in the final heat, and instead of being fast it was a physical battle. The Sainsbury’s British champion found things a little too rough in the end, finishing sixth and missing the final by just 0.22 of a second.


Full results from all of day one can be seen here:


GB & NI team performances

GOLD – Jo Pavey (handicap MINUS 2.6) – Women’s 10,000m