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Top British battles set for Westminster Mile and London 10,000May 26, 2018
Mo Farah, Callum Hawkins, Jo Pavey, Jake Wightman and Melissa Courtney are among runners involved in the bank holiday running festival
A number of British road racing stars are in action in London this bank holiday weekend, with the Vitality Westminster Mile taking place on Sunday and the Vitality London 10,000 on Monday.
The target for the men’s mile is sub-four-minutes as a field including Commonwealth 1500m bronze medallist Jake Wightman and his fellow finalists Charlie Da’Vall Grice and Chris O’Hare look to commemorate the passing of the late, great Sir Roger Bannister by emulating his landmark achievement.
No athlete has run under four minutes over the iconic Vitality Westminster Mile course since the event was first held in 2013, with two-time winner Nick Goolab – who is also returning in 2018 – going closest when he clocked 4:01 to win in 2016.
O’Hare ran a 3:57.17 mile at Boston last weekend, while Da’Vall Grice has a PB of 3:57. Wightman’s personal best is 3:52.9, set at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile last year.
If the race goes down to a sprint, watch out for Elliot Giles, who just missed a medal in the 800m in the World Indoor Championships and ran a 1:45.46 heat in Birmingham.
The women’s field includes Commonwealth 1500m bronze medallist Melissa Courtney, 2011 world medallist Hannah England, London World Championships competitors Jessica Judd, Sarah McDonald, Rosie Clarke and Steph Twell, plus European under-20 cross-country champion Harriet Knowles-Jones.
The Vitality Westminster Mile starts on The Mall and does a lap of St James’s Park, turning right down Horse Guard’s Road and then Birdcage Walk before finishing in front of Buckingham Palace.
As well as the senior races, there will be British Athletics One Mile Road Race championships in the under-13 to under-20 age groups. There will also be, for the first time this year, a Vitality Masters Mile open to runners aged 35 and over.
A list of elite entries can be found here.
The British Championships senior races get under way at 14:00.
The next day’s London 10,000 will see Callum Hawkins make his first return to racing since collapsing while leading the Commonwealth Games marathon and he will once again compete against Mo Farah at the event which starts on The Mall and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace.
After his British record in the Virgin Money London Marathon, Farah claimed victory in the Simplyhealth Great Manchester 10km and will be out to complete a unique double, having also beaten Hawkins in The Big Half in March.
Farah’s PB is a rapid 27:44 which he ran on the London 10,000 course in 2010 and he will be going for his sixth victory in this event.
Chris Thompson should also be in the mix after taking the bronze medal in the British Championships at the Highgate Night of the 10,000m PBs last weekend, where he ran inside 28 minutes.
The women’s race also has a strong domestic field led by defending champion Jo Pavey but the former European 10,000m champion has not raced much since winning last year in 32:57.
She faces the leading British woman from the Virgin Money London Marathon in Lily Partridge, who won the race back in 2016. Partridge was also second in the Big Half in March.
Aldershot clubmate Louise Small, who was third Briton in the Highgate 10,000m, could be the runner in form based on her 32:34.73 PB on the track last Saturday.
Another AFD athlete likely to be to the fore is Steph Twell, who will also run the mile.
She was second in 2013, having also first run the mile.
Six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir, who claimed his eighth London Marathon title last month, and Commonwealth marathon bronze medallist Simon Lawson race in the elite wheelchair event, while Nikki Emerson contests the women’s race. Derek Rae also returns to the streets of London after his T46 Marathon Cup gold in April.
The event starts at 10:00.