This evening you can watch top athletes like Jo Pavey and Andy Vernon fight it out for their chance to represent Great Britain at the Rio Olympics. The first two eligible British athletes past the post in the headline races will be guaranteed a place at the Olympic Games, as long as they complete the race in under 28:00 for men and 32:15 for women. It's also the England Athletics & British Athletics 10,000m Championships.
You can watch it on the web (link above) or head over to Parliament Hill Athletics Track in Hampstead to see it in person for free. I'm told that you watch from lane three and that there's a bar and DJ and stalls too.
I've never heard of another event like this and I'm really intrigued to go. I love that I could run the same race distance on the same track as these runners (albeit not at the same time and not as fast!). Despite all the controversy in athletics at the moment I'm getting more and more interested in watching the formal competitions but appreciate that others might not find it interesting. However, this feels like something that it's not unreasonable to invite non-running geeks to. It's an event in its own right and even better it's got a great female lineup!
Here's the ones that England Athletics think are "One to Watch". Full lineup here:
Ones to watch
Among the leading entries in the women’s championship event are:
- Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers, Gavin Pavey). The 42 year old who won the 2014 European title will be gunning for her fifth Olympics.
- Linet Masai (Kenya). The 2009 world 10,000m champion, 2011 world champs bronze medallist
- Kate Avery (Shildon AC, Tony Simmons). Her 31:41.44 clocking in 2015 was inside the Olympic qualifying time and makes her one to watch
- Beth Potter (Victoria Park City Of Glasgow, Mick Woods). Currently the top ranked British athlete in 2016 with 32:03.45 in Palo Alto.
- Mary Cullen (North Sligo AC). The Irish athlete ran 15:26.53 for 5,000 at Stanford earlier this year.
- Krisztina Papp (Hungary). Ran 32:19.15 in Maia, Portugal, on 9 April
- Lily Partridge (Aldershot Farnham & District). Ranked second in the UK in 2016 with her 32:34.97 in Maia. Lily is also the reigning ECCA National Cross Country Champion.
- Sophie Duarte (France). Sophie ran 33:06 for 10K on the roads in 2015. She was 2013 European Champion at Cross Country
- Salomé Rocha (Portugal, Senior). Has run 32:23.68 for 10,000m in Maia already this year.
- Sabrina Mockenhaupt (Germany, Senior). Ran 32:40.80 for 10,000m on 7 May and 15:40.03 for 5,000m at Herzogenaurach. Sabrina was 2005 European Cross Country silver medallist.
- Jessica Coulson (Stockport Harriers & AC, Senior). In 2015 Jessica ran 32:41.59 for 10,000m
- Katrina Wootton (Coventry Godiva Harriers, Senior). Clocked 33:07.93 in Palo Alto
- Elinor Kirk (Swansea Harriers, Senior). Fifth ranked British athlete of 2016 so far with 33:16.74. Has a 2014 PB of 32:17.05.
In the men’s championship race the athletes to watch include:
- Andy Vernon (Aldershot Farnham & District, Nic Bideau). Great calibre at this distance – he won silver in the 2014 European Championships at 10,000m as well as bronze at 5,000m. Andy ran 27:42.62 in Palo Alto last year.
- Chris Thompson (Aldershot Farnham & District, Mark Rowland). Another athlete to have taken silver at the 10,000m in the European Champs – his came in 2010. Chris has a 2011 PB of 27:27.36.
- Dewi Griffiths (Swansea Harriers, Kevin Evans). Dewi was second at this race in 2015 went on to take 9th at European 10,000m Cup. He has a PB of 28:48.59
- Ross Millington (Stockport Harriers & AC, Steve Vernon). Ross currently lies top of UK rankings for 2016 with 28:38.88 in Pao Alto
- Adam Hickey (Southend, Eamonn Martin). This winter saw Adam come second in both the UK CAU Inter Counties and English National this winter. He debuted at 10,000m in this event last year with 29.32.
- Luke Caldwell (Dorking & Mole Valley, Nic Bideau). Luke has a PB of 28:29.61 and ran 28:45.82 this year at Palo Alto to lie second on the UK rankings for 2016.
- Jonathan Hay (Aldershot Farnham & District, Mick Woods). The National XC Champion who also won the Southern XC title at the course at this venue. His current 10,000m PB is 30:29.07.
- Ben Connor (Derby AC). Ran a new 5000m PB of 13:53.74 last weekend at BMC Grand Prix in Manchester. Has a 10,000m best of 29:18.62
- Andy Maud (Highgate Harriers). Fourth in the ECCA National Cross Country and won the Spar Great Ireland Run in Dublin.
- Mitch Goose (City Of Norwich AC, Tim Ash). Debut. Has a best of 13:34.41 for 5,000m.
- Juan Antonio Pérez (Spain, Senior). Holds a 28:25.66 for 10,000m from last year