Despite having an Olympic champion in the event, track 10,000m races are rare in the UK. Cue the Highgate Harriers Night of the 10,000m PBs.
With strong performances despite the windy conditions, pacing assistance, photo finish and chip timing equipment, a live band and a new mobile PA system, the inaugural event, held at the Parliament Hill Fields track in London, was deemed a huge success and proved that if certain events are believed to be missing from the athletics calendar, it’s possible to create your own.
With the goal of an annual 10,000m-specific event that brings together passionate middle distance runners and provides them with a platform to work together to achieve their 10,000m PB potential, the night saw three races take place to cater for a range of target times.
The event, organised by Ben Pochee with the help of Highgate Harriers and the City of London Corporation, saw former 10,000m world record holder Dave Bedford in attendance, with the distance running legend also handing out prizes.
Receiving one of those prizes was Ed McGinley of Annandale striders who ran 29:53.37 to win the ‘A’ race ahead of Darren Deed (30:02.52 PB) and Nicholas Torry (30:26.68 PB).
Speaking afterwards, the 30-year-old said: “I felt good early on and found myself at the front and decided to push it on a bit and suddenly got a bit of a gap. I ticked the laps off and got in a bit of a rhythm and brought it down in 2k segments.”
He added: “I had a real good run at the BMC Grand Prix at Sportcity last week and ran 14:07 for 5km so that was a PB and so I knew I was in good shape.”
And the personal best performances kept coming, with Coventry’s Harvey Speed clocking 31:22.29 in the ‘B’ race to see him finish almost 20 seconds clear of second-placed David Roper. Jonathan Poole was third with 31:49.94.
The ‘C’ race saw a PB of 32:33.40 for Gordon Pearce of Kingston Athletics Club and Polytechnic Harriers to win the first race of the evening. James Chettle claimed second with a 32:40.16 PB while Simon Coombes was third with a 33:21.26 PB.
That race also saw Guernsey athlete Louise Perrio cross as first female, the 30-year-old recording a 36:11.55 PB.
Recognising a ‘wonderful collective spirit’ at the event, race organiser Pochee commented: “Obviously I’m a tad biased but the atmosphere came to a hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck crescendo for the ‘A’ race with TdF-style cheek by jowl wall-of-noise support in lane 2 of the home straight, memories for a lifetime.
“The event demonstrated a wonderful collective spirit I believe is required if we, as the athletic community, are to create the events we believe are missing from our calendar.
“The event simply could not have happened without support of volunteers from a spectrum of clubs, plus an army of lap counting officials and of course the committed athletes on the night (over 20 started each race) who cemented our hopes for an annual event with momentum for growth. Our sport is a small community, so it’s truly uplifting to see what we can create when we all come together to facilitate, race and cheer as one.”
by Athletics Weekly