Sir Mo Farah and Steph Twell retained British 10K titles at the Vitality London 10,000 on the sun-kissed roads of the capital city on Bank Holiday Monday (27 May) as 19,465 finished the race, up by 5,000 from last year's former record.
Sir Mo Farah claimed his seventh win in the 12th edition of London's second largest running event after London Marathon. Rio Olympian Andy Butchart was forcing the early pace and Nick Goolab led through halfway in 14:08 but four-time Olympic champion Farah took charge with an early push for victory.
Farah (28:15) stretched his legs over the final 2kms and it was poetry in Mo-tion as he eased across the line with 13 seconds to spare over the courageous Butchart (28:28, =PB) and Goolab (28:47) – who was fourth less than 24 hours earlier in the Westminster Mile (4:05).
“I really enjoyed it today,” said Farah, racing for the first time since finishing fifth in the Virgin Money London Marathon. “I love coming to London and particularly running on this course. It’s fantastic to win for a seventh time. London Marathon is behind me now. I was a bit disappointed not to run quicker there but I have recovered well and was confident today.”
Steph Twell was another athlete on a race double at the weekend but her Westminster Mile experience was rather different as she ran hand in hand with husband Joe Morewood to set a new Guinness World Record (4:50) for a couple holding hands. It was a more serious Twell who passed halfway in 15:33 to easily retain her Vitality London 10,000 trophy and the British title in a PB 31:55 from Jess Piasecki (32:33 PB) and Verity Ockenden (32:39) – who slashed 1:48 from her previous best.
Twell was bubbling with enthusiasm and confidence after her weekend exertions: “This is a great course and a great event,” said the two-time Olympian. “A personal best and a world record in one weekend can’t be bad. My legs were fine after yesterday but I think I felt it in my arms a bit. The bigger races always bring out the best in me and this is one of the biggest and the best. Today was London in its full glory and the crowds were fantastic. I’m just delighted.”
One enduring image from the event was the empowering sight of nearly 700 women who ran the entire course in their underwear to support the 'Celebrate You' campaign led by journalist Bryony Gordon and mental health advocate Jada Sezer. Their message was endorsed by 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, who started the races and presented the awards. “They are so brave,” said Ennis-Hill, an ambassador for race sponsors Vitality. “I wouldn’t run half-naked round my house and they’ve run round London in their knickers. It’s an amazing campaign and so important for women’s body confidence. Hats off to them.”