Sir Mo Farah and Steph Twell retained their British 10K road race titles at the Vitality London 10,000 this morning as thousands turned out to run through the sun-bathed streets of the British capital.
For Farah it was his seventh win in seven races on the famous central London course, while Twell took two seconds from her personal best to win the women’s crown for a second time just 24 hours after setting a world mile record for running hand-in-hand.
In the end Farah’s win was easy enough but the four-times Olympic champion was pushed hard by Rio Olympian Andy Butchart and former British Mile champion Nick Goolab before prevailing in 28:15.
“I really enjoyed it today,” said Farah, who was racing for the first time since finishing fifth in the Virgin Money London Marathon last month. “I love coming to London and particularly running on this course. It’s fantastic to win for a seventh time.
“The 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.”
Goolab led the trio through halfway in 14:08 before he dropped back, but Butchart hung on until the last two kilometres, when Farah finally kicked away and put more than 100m between the pair.
“I knew Andy and Nick are both running well and I would have to keep my eyes on them,” said Farah. “We got rid of Nick, but Andy kept pushing and pushing and pushing.
“I thought, ‘When am I going to get rid of you?’ He did very well, but I was confident I could do it in the end. This is my race.”
Butchart may have failed to add to his victories here in 2016 and 2017, but the Scot was pleased enough to finish runner-up just 13 seconds behind, matching his personal best from 2016.
“I knew I would have to do the hard work,” said Butchart, who led for most of the first 5K. “But Mo was just chilling really. It’s really hard to lead a 10K and get away from someone like him.
“I wanted a good run and got that. It was only in the last 2K that he pulled away and I’m pleased to equal my PB. It shows I’m ready to run fast on the track.”
Personal best for Twell
As for Twell, she set off at a pelt in the women’s race, running with a small group of male club runners as she established an unassailable lead that grew with every step.
On Sunday she and husband Joe Morwood had smashed the Guinness World Record for the fastest road mile holding hands, but that effort did little to dent her 10K title defence.
Twell passed halfway in 15:33 and eventually won by nearly 40 seconds from Stockport’s Jess Piasecki with Verity Ockenden of Swansea taking third.
“This is a great course and a great event,” said the two-time Olympian who stopped the clock at 31:55. “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.”
The unheralded Piasecki was also pleased as she clinched the runner-up spot in her best time of 32:33, while Ockenden also took some well-known scalps from a race loaded with internationals as she pinched the last podium place in 32:39, a PB for her by nearly two minutes.
“I saw Steph go off and I knew that was too fast for me,” said Piasecki. “But I ran quite within myself until the last kilometre. That was tough but it was worth it to finish second.”
Mile & 10,000 double for Woods & Sidbury
In the wheelchair races, Shelly Woods made it two wins in two days since her return to elite racing as she took the women’s title just 24 hours after winning the Vitality Westminster Mile on Sunday.
Woods, who took two years out of the sport following the birth of her first child, led from start to finish and won by 43 seconds in 27:25 from Mel Nicholls, regaining the title she last won three years ago. Eden Rainbow-Cooper was third in 29:02.
“I feel refreshed so it’s great to be back and to be part of this event,” said Woods. “This is such a great race for wheelchair athletes, plus it’s a really competitive field. It’s been a really positive weekend; I’ve really enjoyed it.
Danny Sidbury also added the Vitality London 10,000 crown to his unexpected Mile victory, winning the men’s race for the first time by an even bigger margin in 22:32.
“I decided to go hard from the gun, like I did yesterday in the Vitality Westminster Mile, and then to settle into a comfortable pace, so I was surprised that I built up such a lead,” said Sidbury. “To do the double feels great.”
JohnBoy Smith was second in 23:21 with Simon Lawson third in 23:27.