Steph Twell wins individual race as Eilish McColgan leads Britain to European Cup team victory at Parliament Hill in London
Steph Twell had what many believe was her greatest race as a senior as she won the women’s event at the Night of the 10,000m PBs in a superb 31:08.13.
It gave her a clear win over last year’s winner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel and moved her to sixth all time in the UK as third-placed Eilish McColgan moved to seventh with 31:16.76.
Twell plans to tackle the Berlin Marathon this autumn, however, instead of the IAAF World Championships in Doha, while similarly McColgan hopes to focus on the 5000m in Doha instead of the 10,000m.
The women’s championships race was the penultimate event of the meeting and athletes had their eyes on the World Championships qualifying mark of 31:50 and initially a huge group were on pace including seven Britons at 2km although many would pay for their aggressive starts.
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Salpeter ignored the pacemakers and blasted the first lap in 73 seconds and after a kilometre in 3:05.70 she had a three-second lead on a main pack which was led by pacemakers Roselida Jepketer and Eva Cherono with McColgan, Twell and Alice Wright near the front.
By 3km the Israeli (9:18.55) had extended the lead to seven seconds, which closed a little at 4km (12:28.33 to 12:34.94) and it was similar as Salpeter led past halfway in 15:37.62 to the chasing pack’s 15:43.09 with Twell and McColgan still well placed.
The margin was the same at 6km (18:44.57) but at 7km (21:53.58) the gap was down to five (21:58.17). In the next kilometre Twell closed but McColgan had to let go.
At 8km Salpeter (25:01.28) was barely ahead of Cherono, who dropped out, and a strong-looking Twell (25:03.25). With four laps remaining it was down to the two with Twell on Salpeter’s shoulder but seemingly biding her time.
At 9km in 28:09.86 there was barely a stride between them as a huge crowd at the Parliament Hill venue roared their support.
Twell made her move on the penultimate lap when she saw a big group ahead that she was about to lap and she powered through the bell. Completing the final kilometre in 2:58 she won by over seven seconds.
She said: “I can’t believe how easy I felt and I’m delighted. The crowd were amazing. I’ve never heard a roar like that and it really lifted me.”
Twell was shortly after celebrating with her mentor Wendy Sly and a glass of Prosecco, although the Aldershot athlete was curiously not actually part of the GB winning team.
Interview with Steph Twell following her superb 31:08.13 to win at the @NightOf10kPBs. She’s now targeting the Berlin Marathon rather than the Doha World Champs. @StefApril @euancrumley pic.twitter.com/nJGLgHW2NC
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) July 7, 2019
McColgan was, however, and she ran her usual superb last lap and almost caught Salpeter, who ran 31:15.78 and won the European Cup from the Scot.
“I wanted to win but I’m pleased with that and the time,” said McColgan, who was also watched by her mother, Liz, the former world champion at the distance. “This is one of the best events I’ve ever done in terms of atmosphere and support.”
Eilish McColgan says she’s relieved to get rid of her 10,000m “gremlins” as past attempts haven’t gone to plan. Highgate also saw her bag an Olympic qualifier. @EilishMccolgan pic.twitter.com/OmL4xZNSF2
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) July 7, 2019
Liz Westphall and Fionnuala McCormack completed the top five whereas other Britons to place highly were Wright 9th in 32:27.57, Verity Ockenden 12th in 32:34.47, Charlotte Arter 14th in 32:40.63 and Sarah Inglis 17th in 32:52.51.
The women’s B race highlighted the pacer lights perfectly as the runners stayed around the 33:00-paced light almost all the way. Emily Hosker-Thornhill helped in the traditional pacer method and stayed within the lead group for 20 minutes after halfway was reached in 16:29 before ending her workout. Elinor Kirk also helped with the pacing but they were the only two Brits in the race.
With a 72-second last lap, Belgium’s Nina Lauwaert won in 32:52.29 narrowly ahead of Belarus athlete Nina Savina (32:52.66) and Sevilay Eytemis of Turkey (32:54.66).
Such is the progress of women’s 10,000m running thanks to this event it was notable that while a few years ago there was one competitor in the British Championships that here the C race alone had 33 women.
Most were Brits but the race was led home by Hanne Verbruggen of Belgium, who won in 33:30.67 and who said she would have run in the B race but her national federation omitted to enter her.
Abbie Donnelly was the leading Brit in third in 33:56.13. With runners spread over four minutes this was one of the few events to encounter lapping problem and both Sophie Harris and Charlene Jacobs-Conradie thought they had finished after getting the bell prematurely the lap before but were persuaded by the AW correspondent to reluctantly complete another lap!
» See the July 11 issue of AW for in-depth coverage from the Night of the 10,000m PBs