The former Welsh cross-country international tells Ruth Jones how breaking the British 20km walk record on the track has spurred her on to aim for Olympic selection
Jo Pavey eager to get back to trackMay 10, 2014
Distance runner geared up for her competitive return at Saturday night’s British 10,000m Championships
Just eight months after having her second child and Jo Pavey says she is more motivated than ever ahead of her return to the track.
Despite having raced a few times on the road in the last couple of years, Saturday evening’s Highgate Harriers Night of the 10,000m PBs event will be the first time the 40-year-old has competed on the track since the London Olympic 5000m final in 2012.
She placed a superb seventh and first European athlete in both the 5000m and 10,000m finals at the London Games and now can’t wait to make her return.
“I’ve got such brilliant memories of my last track races, it was such an awesome experience to be competing in a home Olympic Games,” she says.
“I feel really keen to just get out there and have another go at it.”
With European 10,000m and Commonwealth 5000m silvers already under her belt from 2012 and 2006 respectively, the four-time Olympian has her sights firmly set on this year’s championships, with her journey to both Zurich and Glasgow beginning at the Highgate Harriers event which incorporates the British 10,000m Championships and European trials.
But although pleased with her progress at this point in the year, the Exeter athlete does describe being hit by a “double whammy” of earlier trials together with her return from pregnancy.
“To be honest I’d be happy to be at this stage in my training in May even if I wasn’t coming back from having a baby,” she says.
“I’m pleasantly surprised at the level of fitness I’ve been able to get to. Emily is such a good baby, she’s made it a lot easier than I thought it would be,” adds Pavey, who also has a four-year-old son, Jacob.
“There’s tough competition out there but I’d love to be selected for both the championships, that’s my goal this year,” continues the West Country runner, who as well as looking for the 32:00 (Commonwealths, 33:00 Europeans) 10,000m qualifying time also intends to aim for a 5000m qualifier, too.
“It’s been a bit of a double whammy. Coming back from pregnancy and having a trial at least six weeks earlier than what I’m used to. I’ve never had to do a trial this early before.
“It’s given me that added motivation, feeling like it’s a challenge being 40 and having two little kids and coming back from having a baby, it’s quite an exciting challenge. Being so happy keeps me motivated, I think.”
Although some may say that age is not on her side, Pavey – who won English Schools gold in 1988 – ran her 10,000m PB in 2012, clocking 30:53.20 at the Olympics.
Despite entering a new age group last September, she says she doesn’t want to use her V40 status as an “excuse” and the thought of bettering the UK W40 10,000m record of 34:26, together with the world mark of 31:40, hadn’t crossed her mind.
“I don’t think the age is really a problem, if there are records there it could be a bit of fun,” she says.
“It’s just nice to be out there racing, there’s a lot of good young girls coming through.
“But I certainly don’t want to use age as an excuse. It will maybe show people that you can go on a bit longer.”
» Jo Pavey returns to track action at Saturday’s Highgate Harriers Night of the 10,000m PBs, a preview for which can be found here