6th June 2020
EUROPEAN 10,000M CUP REWIND
Today London’s Hampstead Heath was set to host the European 10,000m Cup, as part of the highly-successful Night of 10,000m PBs, for the third year running. With this year’s event postponed to 2021, we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate the British successes from the first two years of this exciting link up.
Exactly 20 athletes have pulled on the British team vest in London for the European 10,000m Cup since the event was first incorporated into the Night of 10,000m PBs in 2018 with many more pulling on their club colours for the prestigious A races that close the event. The event also acts as the British Championships for the distance.
The British team has collected seven medals in those two years – three gold, two silver and two bronze – while one athlete has done their club truly proud by winning outright, and it is with that women’s A final in 2019 where we start.
A stacked field included Eilish McColgan and Steph Twell, the former wearing the British vest, and Israeli European gold medallist over the distance Lonah Chemtai Salpeter with the three battling it out for honours.
Twell, running in her Aldershot, Farnham & District vest, produced a phenomenal display to overhaul Salpeter with 600 metres to go to earn a popular victory in front of a boisterous home crowd.
Salpeter went off hard, moving away over the opening kilometres, looking in supreme form while Twell and McColgan stuck with the pacemaker as they eyed personal bests, and with it, standards for the IAAF World Championships schedule for later in the year in Doha and Olympic Games.
As Salpeter was reeled in, Twell took her opportunity, making a decisive move and holding her composure on the final lap to seal the British title in a magnificent time of 31:08.13, the sixth fastest time ever by a Briton.
McColgan continued her impressive 2019 form, earning a massive personal best, 31.16.76, which secured European silver behind Salpeter – as Twell was not part of the European Cup entrants.
Following her prowess over the shorter distances – improving to 4:00.97 over 1500m and 14:47.94 in the 5000m – this was another significant best for the Scot who moves to seventh on the 10,000m UK all-time standings for the 10,000m.
McColgan’s individual European silver medal earned the British team the gold medal overall in the European Cup, following on from victory in 2018. Backing up the Scots impressive performance was Alice Wright in 32:27.57, the second counter in the GB & NI team, with Verity Ockenden next in 32:34.47.
Charlotte Arter [32:40.60], Sarah Inglis [32:52.51] and Mhairi MacLennan [32:58.42] all contributed to the gold-medal moment for the squad of six.
The men’s race built up into a highly entertaining contest, with Britain’s Ben Connor – who along with Arter are the only athletes to have pulled on the British vest in both 2018 and 2019 – winning his first European Cup medal, sealing bronze and clocking sub-28 minutes for the first time for 27:57.60.
Nick Goolab ran a strong race, crossing the line in eighth position after pushing for the podium places in the closing stages of a thrilling race. In his first ever track 10,000m, his time was recorded at 28:10.49.
The third Briton in the contest – although not competing within the GB&NI team for the European Cup – was Chris Thompson, who posted a time of 28:28.55. Adding to Connor’s third and Goolab’s eighth place, the rest of the British men helped to guide the team to the silver medal.
Matt Leach narrowly won the race long tussle with Jack Gray, coming in at 28:47.24 to Gray’s 28:49.53. Team captain at the World Cross earlier in the year, Adam Hickey was next in 29:13.54 while Andrew Heyes followed in 29:32.90 in what became increasingly wet conditions.
Arter had been the stand-out performer at the European 10,000m Cup’s maiden appearance on Parliament Hill as she came a stunning third in a personal best of 32:15.71 minutes and European qualifying standard. She ran a controlled race and dictated the pace of the chasing pack, before kicking in the final kilometre to shatter her personal. Her performance, coupled with that of fellow Brits Louise Small and Jenny Nesbitt, helped the GB&NI to gold in the team event.
Philippa Bowden came home as the second Brit in the overall field in fifth, also setting a personal best of 32:33.10, and was followed home in seventh by Small in 32:34.73, a lifetime best. Nesbitt recorded 32:38.45 and teammates on the British team, Claire Duck achieved a time of 32:52.85, and Faye Fullerton finished in 33:47.70.
In the men’s race, Alex Yee hit the European qualifying standard of 28:20.00, ensuring his place on the plane to Berlin by recording 27:51.94 on his way to a fifth place finish overall and the British title.
Andy Vernon, who already had the European standard heading into the event, followed him home in sixth in 27:52.32 for British silver, with Chris Thompson seventh in 27:52.56 and bronze.
Yee’s teammates on the British team Connor, who already had the standard, came 13th in 28:31.59 with Mohamud Aadan, Luke Traynor and Sam Stabler 16th, 28th and 32nd respectively.
Aadan recorded 28:39.79, with Traynor hitting 29:20.32 and 31:16.81 the time for Stabler. It was double delight for the British squad as the men’s showing earned them silver as well in the team event in the European 10,000m Cup.
Pictures courtesy of Mark Shearman