Jo Pavey finishes second at the European Cup 10,000m in Bilbao
Little more than a month ago, Jo Pavey was met with the sheer disappointment of being left off the British marathon team for the London 2012 Olympics.
But in the space of a few days, the former Commonwealth medallist has put herself in line for selection for not just one event but two, and is now spoilt for choice between the two longest track races.
Having opened her season in May with a 15:14.19 clocking over 5000m at the BMC Grand Prix in Manchester, Pavey followed it with a 15:09.53 run at the Rome Diamond League meeting earlier this week, securing the all-important second A standard in that event.
Then, at today’s European Cup 10,000m, Pavey finished a respectable second to Portugal’s Sara Moreira, running well inside the A standard in that event with 31:32.22 – a British W35 record and Pavey’s fastest time since the 2008 Olympic final.
Pavey, who in her first year of 10,000m running finished fourth at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, was delighted to be back in picture for a spot on Team GB.
“It was my main hope to get the time for the Olympics,” she said. “I’m pleased and relieved really. It leaves my options open and it’s just nice to have the qualifying times.
Pavey is undecided as to which event she will choose – and she could indeed opt to race in both – but having moved towards the longer distances in recent years, the 38-year-old appears to be leaning towards the 10,000m.
“Maybe I would prefer the 10,000m but I haven’t made a definite decision,” she said. “I want to see how training goes, but I think it’s more likely that I will prefer to target the 10. I need to get home and discuss things. I still want to improve my training and try to run some quicker times. I’m just really thrilled to have the A standard.”
Moreira, the European 5000m bronze medallist, won in Bilbao with a personal best of 31:23.51. Pavey’s second-place finish helped the British women’s team win the overall competition and her podium placing ended Britain’s 11-year wait for an individual medal. Paula Radcliffe was the last British woman to achieve such a feat back in 2001, when she won the competition.
Former European junior cross-country champion Charlotte Purdue was also in pursuit of the A standard of 31:50, but she finished seventh in 32:18.44. Gemma Steel and Hannah Walker were the next Britons across the line, finishing ninth (32:34.81) and 14th (33:10.95) respectively, while Sonia Samuels (15th, 33:11.53) and Freya Murray (19th, 33.16.33) rounded out the team.
Turkey’s Polat Kemboi Arikan won the men’s race on his debut at the distance. The former Kenyan, who previous name was Paul Kemboi, set his fourth Turkish record of the year so far, winning in 27:56.28 – eight seconds clear of a trio of Spaniards.
John Beattie was Britain’s highest finisher in 18th, running 29:49.59. James Walsh was 22nd (29:53.44), while Keith Gerrard failed to finish.