David Weir and Mel Nicholls win wheelchair titles on sunny morning in UK capital
Mo Farah and Steph Twell claimed victory at the Vitality London 10,000, winning British 10km road titles on a sunny morning in the UK capital.
Contesting his second 10km race in nine days after his victory at the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run, 10-time global track gold medallist Farah clocked 29:44 to win ahead of Aldershot, Farnham & District duathlete Richard Allen and former triathlete Matthew Sharp.
Twell claimed a clear win in the women’s race, running 32:34 to secure success ahead of Gemma Steel and Jo Pavey.
David Weir claimed a second win in two days as the six-time Paralympic gold medallist added 10km victory to his Westminster Mile win from the day before, while Mel Nicholls claimed the women’s wheelchair title after a sprint finish ahead of Nikki Emerson.
On a warm and sunny bank holiday Monday there were a record 17,767 entries for the event, which starts on The Mall and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace.
Returning to race in the UK capital after his British record for third in the Virgin Money London Marathon last month, Farah moved ahead at around 4km but Sharp and Allen stayed with him until he pulled away in the closing stages to win by four seconds, claiming his sixth win at this event. Sharp was a further two seconds back, while Mohamud Aadan was fourth in 29:58 and Jonny Mellor fifth in 30:04.
Callum Hawkins, racing for the first time since his collapse in the Commonwealth Games marathon on the Gold Coast, clocked 31:27.
Joined by his family at the finish line in front of Buckingham Palace, Farah said: “I’m happy with that. It’s nice to be able to get a good run here in London. I’ve raced here so many times but it’s nice to be able to win.
“My shape is not great but a win is a win and I’m happy with that even if the time was a little bit slow. It was nice to be able to run with the club runners.”
Allen said: “It was very slow for the first 5km. Mo helped and said to concentrate and sit in. It was great to run with him.
“I tracked Matt when Mo kicked and I have been finishing well lately and am confident in my kick. I passed Matt with 50 metres to go.”
Back in the UK after three months away which included a seventh-place finish in the 1500m and 14th in the 5000m at the Commonwealth Games, Twell was pleased with her performance in front of passionate crowds.
“I’m buzzing. The atmosphere today was electric,” she said. “With so many great club runners running, I really tried to tail on to the back of the guys and make sure I bridged the gap. I also had a race on my hands with Jo, Tracy Barlow and Gemma very early on.
“I’ve been away for three months so to start here in London is epic,” she added. “It has really set off my season well even though it’s on the road.”
Steel ran 33:00 for the runner-up spot and later said she is starting to feel back to her old self again, enjoying her racing, while defending champion Pavey ran 33:12 for third in her first race since last autumn.
“I’ve got to be pleased,” said Pavey. “I’ve haven’t really raced properly for about a year.
“I really enjoyed it. There were so many good girls out there, I’ve got to be pleased with that.”
Barlow clocked 33:21 in fourth, while British marathon champion Lily Partridge was fifth in 33:27.
An impressive 111 female athletes broke 40 minutes, while a total of 258 men and women were inside 35 minutes despite the warm conditions.
» See the May 31 edition of AW magazine for further coverage