Former winners Yeman Crippa and Richard Ringer plus Brits Emile Cairess, Sam Atkin and Jess Judd are among strong fields for the 25-lap dust-up in north London on Saturday
Well over 1000 days have passed since the last Night of the 10,000m PBs event was held at Parliament Hill in north London. It has been a long Covid-enforced wait, but this Saturday’s meeting promises to be bigger and better than ever.
Many of Britain’s leading distance runners will be battling for selection for the World Championships in Oregon and attempting to bag qualifying times for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and European Championships in Munich. There are also a number of top international athletes from overseas despite the event not incorporating the European Cup 10,000m this year.
This volunteer-driven, spectator-friendly meeting is sponsored by On Running this year and looks set to build on its famous “lane three beer and cheer ethos”, its “lactic tunnels of love” together with circus-style entertainment and back straight DJ.
Never mind the athletes on the track. The spectator areas alone are likely to feature a who’s who of endurance running greats. Being free to enter, it is sure to be packed, too, but if you can’t make it in person then the event is covered live on the BBC red button.
Certainly, it has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2013 when the coverage appeared in a small panel in the results section of Athletics Weekly with the men’s A race won by Eddie McGinley in a modest 29:53.37.
Men’s race tough to call
A fine domestic field has been assembled for the A-race but the winner could just as easily come from overseas as a number of top-class competitors from Italy, Germany and Uganda in particular are in the field. These include two former winners, too.
First let’s look at the Brits. Sam Atkin leads the way courtesy of the 27:26.58 PB set 18 months which helped get him to the Olympics last year, although he DNF’d in Tokyo. The US-based Brit ran an impressive 13:03.64 for 5000m indoors in February – a performance that was overshadowed at the time as he finished three seconds behind Marc Scott, who sadly isn’t in the entries for Saturday.
NCAA champion Patrick Dever, another US-based Brit who ran 27:23.88 in March, is similarly not set to race. Neither, not surprisingly, is UK record-holder Mo Farah, nor Andy Butchart, nor Charles Hicks, who broke Dave Bedford’s UK under-23 record last month with 27:40.16, due to his Stanford University duties.
Along with Atkin, therefore, another domestic stand-out name on the start list is Emile Cairess. The Yorkshireman equalled Farah’s UK 10km road record earlier this year and will look to improve on the 27:53.19 PB that he set at the European Cup in Birmingham last year.
Another runner with a link to Farah is Ellis Cross – the man who beat the multiple global track champion in the Vitality London 10,000 earlier this month. Cross’s track PB is only 28:47.51 but it was set in 2018 and due some revision.
Similarly, Jake Smith goes into the race with modest PBs of 13:38 for 5000m and 29:01 for 10,000m but he looks poised to translate his promising road racing form on to the track.
Ben Connor moves back down to 10,000m from the marathon and if he can get back to his 27:57.60 PB shape then he will be hoping to make an impact.
Look out too for the improving Jack Rowe and the Mahamad brothers from Southampton – Mahamed and Zak.
All of which brings us on to the international entrants and a potential headache for the commentators. Mohamed Mohumed has a near identical name to the above-mentioned Brit, but Mohumed is from Germany and in addition to being the reigning European under-23 5000m champion he clocked 13:03 for that distance when finishing runner-up to Jakob Ingebrigtsen at the Sound Running Track Meet in California last Friday.
Coincidentally, Mohumed also has a younger brother, called Yassin, who runs at a high level, but he is not due to run on Saturday.
Yeman Crippa and Richard Ringer are well known to Night of the 10,000m PBs aficionados as they are former winners of the event. Ringer won the 2018 race after a thrilling duel with Morhad Amdouni and the German then moved to the marathon and finished 26th in the Olympics last year. Here he steps back down to 10,000m, although his PB of 27:36.52 lags a little behind some of his rivals.
Crippa, for example, ran an Italian record of 27:10.76 at the World Championships in Doha in 2019 and earlier that year he won the Night of the 10,000m PBs event in style. With a half-marathon best of 59:26 and one mile PB of 3:52 he will be hard to beat whether the pace is fast or slow.
If anyone can cause an upset, though, it is Ugandan duo Rodgers Kibet and Isaac Kibet. The former has shown good form on the European circuit and has ambitions to follow in the footsteps of fellow Ugandans Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo but he is still only 17. Isaac, meanwhile, ran 27:41 for 10km and 60:20 for half-marathon on the roads last year and is 26 years old.
Men’s start lists can be seen here.
Women’s race wide open
With Eilish McColgan making the decision mid-week to drop out of the race in order to focus on training in Font Romeu, it leaves the race fairly open for someone to make their mark.
McColgan had been in superb form. She started the year with a 66:26 half-marathon in the United Arab Emirates, more recently she set a UK 5km record of 14:45 in Spain and then, last week, came within two seconds of breaking Paula Radcliffe’s national 10km record with 30:23 in London.
But after withdrawing from the event it leaves Jess Judd in pole position when it comes to domestic competitors. Judd sits No.8 on the UK all-time rankings with 31:20.96 and was just over a second behind McColgan at the European Cup and British Championships 10,000m at Birmingham University last year – an event that effectively replaced the Night of the 10,000m PBs during 2020.
Then there is Amy-Eloise Markovc, who sits No.9 on the UK all-time rankings with 31:25.91, plus the UK all-time 14th ranked Verity Ockenden.
Other domestic contenders keen to make their mark include Samantha Harrison and Sarah Inglis.
Watch out too for Charlotte Arter, Lily Partridge, Jess Gibbon, Abbie Donnelly, Mhairi Maclennan, Rose Harvey, Charlotte Arter and Beth Kidger, the latter of whom holds the UK-leading mark this year of 33:01.14.
As for the international visitors, perhaps Sarah Lahti is the pick of the bunch. The Swedish athlete has run 31:11.12 and competed at the Rio and Tokyo Olympics.
Women’s start lists can be seen here.
Qualifying targets for 10,000m
World Champs: 27:28.00 / 31:25.00
Commonwealth (England): 28:00.00 / 32:15.00
Commonwealth (Scotland): 28:11.62 / 32:35.24
Commonwealth (Wales): 28.30.00 / 32.30.00
Commonwealth (N.Ireland): 28:30.00 / 32:37.00
European Champs: 28:15.00 / 32:20.00
Historic miles spice up the programme
World Athletics is set to award the Parliament Hill venue one of its Heritage plaques on Saturday as recognition for the part the area has played in the rich history of cross-country running.
The historic Emsley Carr Mile has also been brought into the event along with the more recent Millicent Fawcett Mile for women and they will break up the 10,000m races mid-way through Saturday evening.
George Mills, Piers Copeland, Charlie Da’Vall Grice and Archie Davis are among the contenders for the Emsley Carr Mile but there are some tough international runners such as 3:31 man Azeddine Habz of France.
Melissa Courtney-Bryant, Ellie Baker and Sarah Healy are among the entries in the Millicent Fawcett Mile.
15:00 Race 1 – 10,000m men
15:45 Race 2 – 10,000m men
16:30 Race 3 – 10,000m women
17:15 Race 4 – 10,000m men
18:45 Race 5 – 10,000m men
19:30 Race 6– 10,000m men
20:10 Millicent Fawcett Mile
20:20 Emsley Carr Mile
20:45 Race 7 – 10,000m Women’s UK Athletics Championships & World Champs Trials
21:25 Race 8 – 10,000m Men’s UK Athletics Championships & World Champs Trials
» See the May issue of AW magazine for more on the Night of the 10,000m PBs. To subscribe to AW magazine, CLICK HERE