03 Sep UK 10,000m revival continues with BMC Track Festival this weekend

The British Milers Club and Trafford AC 10,000m Track Festival returns for its second outing this weekend as concerted efforts to continue the 10,000m track revival continue.

Entries have stood up well just one week out from the Great North Run and without the added bonus of being part of the Run Britain Grand Prix this time around, with race organiser Steve Green saying he is “delighted” numbers look set to match the 92 finishers achieved across five races in 2014.

“Entries are just below the 100 mark and many of the athletes running will be making their track debuts,” said Green. “The quality has remained high, with Gary Thornton (29.03) and Lars Sodergald on the men’s side plus Laura Whittle (32:46) on the women’s. Jack Morris is another sub-30 runner with great potential so we’re hoping the races deliver some fast times and many personal bests.”

With a 10,000m best of 28:20, former Great Britain international Steve Kenyon will be on hand to offer tips and advice to athletes across the afternoon. The former Great North Run winner and nine-time World Cross Country competitor will be starting the races and presenting Northern Championship medals in his role of guest of honour.

Runners and riders

Pacemakers are set to take the “A” race out at 14:50 tempo through halfway, with the race representing one of the final opportunities for sub-30 minute clockings this year. 20 men have already gone inside the mark on the track in 2015 and three more this weekend would see numbers hit the highest mark achieved since 2009.

Just eight women are among the near-one hundred entries, though a realistic sub-34 minute debut from the current UK 5,000m number-two Laura Whittle (15:22) would see the George Gandy-coached athlete march into the 2015 UK top-10 for the 25-lap distance.

“We’ve publicised the event almost entirely via Facebook this year and had great support from Chorlton Runners, who are bringing around 25 athletes and always make a big noise and bring a lot of support,” noted Green. “Ben Pochee and the Highgate crew will also be there supporting the event. I think once this event gets into its third year, it will start to grow.”

Scott Overall (29:18) and Sarah McCormack (33:38) recorded the fastest male and female times in ideal conditions twelve months ago. With mostly cloudy conditions and only a light wind expected this weekend, personal bests could tumble once again.

PB opportunities

BMC chairman Tim Brennan highlighted the range of abilities and times that have entered the 25-lap festival this weekend and added “we are joining forces with Highgate to enhance 10k track opportunities.”

With other track events getting in on the ‘big event’ idea and looking to bridge the gap in providing attractive track racing opportunities, such as the inaugural Hercules Wimbledon 5,000m Festival two weeks ago, the popular blueprint to PB success is being replicated and flourishing across the country.

The first of four races this Saturday starts from 2:00pm and athletes and fans alike are encouraged to head to Lonford Park to show their support.

Full timetable and start lists