Saturday night saw Highgate Harriers host their annual Night of the 10,000 PBs at Parliament Hill Athletics Track, London. This year the races included the England Athletics 10,000m Championships and also saw athletes battling for places in the Rio Olympics 2016 by attempting to achieve the qualifying standard.

Parliament Hill Athletics Track

Over the last four years, Race Organiser Ben Pochee of Highgate Harriers has worked hard to create an event that isn’t your conventional track meeting. Crowds are immersed in the action, spectating from lane three where there are live DJs, bars providing beer for the “beer and cheer” and a host of other entertainment including samba bands, dancers and fire jugglers.

I’ve previously heard a lot of excellent things about the event and thought that we should go down and check it out. Running magazine Like the Wind were on the look out for people to help sell event programmes, so we went along to help them and the Advent Running/AR Collective team.

Arriving early we were able to catch an endurance seminar on the track hosted by Nic Anderson with Charlie Spedding, Eamon Martin, Paul Evans and Nick Rose sharing their insights and views. There were then a series of races for children of all ages, including team races and relays before the adult racing got underway at 5pm. Some of the UKs top runners were in attendance battling it out with each other over the 25 laps of the track that form the 10,000m.

Athletes go through the Lane 3 Beer and Cheer

First up in the championship was the Men’s race, where favourite Andy Vernon (28:48) finished fourth overall behind Ross Millington (28:23) and Dewi Griffiths (28:34). Andy has already run the qualifying time for Rio but will need to wait for selectors to make their decision on who will be joining pre-qualified Mo Farah.

Men's Championship Race

The Women’s championship race headlined with Jo Pavey, setting out in hope of achieving a place at her fifth Olympic Games, being paced around by Helen Clitheroe. The race saw an incredible performance from Jess Andrews, who has only ever raced the distance on the track once before, taking first place in a PB time of 31:58. Jo Pavey finished in 6th place behind Beth Potter, Kate Avery, Lauren Deadman and Lily Partridge.

Helen Clitheroe paces Jo Pavey

Women's Championship Race

The event was supported well by the running community and it was great to catch up with friends from parkrun, Marathon Talk and other races and events across the country.

The races were brilliant and the atmosphere was electric. Being able to cheer on the athletes from only metres away as they sped past certainly added to this and I can certainly see this event, and what Ben has achieved, inspiring other race organisers across the country.

If you can make it in 2017, definitely go along!

More photos available over on Exposure – https://tomwake.exposure.co/night-of-the-10000m-pbs/