May Bank Holiday Monday (30 May) witnessed 12,000 runners challenging for British titles in the 2016 Vitality London 10000. Although the wheelchair victories by David Weir and Shelly Woods were expected, there were surprise wins for Scotland’s Andrew Butchart and late entrant, Lily Partridge.
The races start on The Mall and finish opposite Buckingham Palace, taking in many iconic sights including Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and Parliament Square. The London 10,000 has grown from just over 6,000 finishers in 2008 to almost 12,000 this year.
Andrew Butchart lost no time in asserting his authority after a narrow defeat in the Westminster Mile less than 24 hours earlier. The 24-year-old Central AC athlete was through halfway, near the Bank of England, in 14:10 and despite posing briefly for a selfie with a spectator on Whitehall, still took 40 seconds off his personal best to claim the title in 28:28, from defending champion Andy Vernon (Aldershot, 29:04) and Ben Connor (Derby, 29:21).
Lily Partridge (Aldershot, 33:03) was similarly dominant in the women’s race, despite only deciding to enter following a disappointing performance in the Olympic 10,000m trials at Highgate, where she was fifth and outside the qualifying time for Rio. Partridge really took flight after dropping the pre-race favourite Charlotte Purdue at halfway. Rachel Felton (Shaftesbury, 33:35) and Hannah Walker (33:45) were the runners-up.
David Weir (21:06) and Shelly Woods (27:47) were well clear of their respective wheelchair fields, representing a good double for Weir after winning the Westminster Mile and consolation for Woods, who punctured in the London Marathon last month.
The records set here in 2010 by Mo Farah (27:44) and Mary Keitany (31:06) still look pretty impressive and Farah’s time is the British 10k best. However, Butchart is now the second fastest British athlete on this course.
Full details at the Vitality London 10000 website