Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Jo Pavey wins 10,000m aged 40

Great Britain's Jo Pavey celebrates winning the Women's 10,000m final at the Letzigrund Stadium, Zurich
Great Britain's Jo Pavey celebrates winning the Women's 10,000m final at the Letzigrund Stadium, Zurich

Forty-year-old mother-of-two Jo Pavey has become the oldest ever female European champion, after a stunning victory for Great Britain.

The runner, whose daughter Emily was born only last year, won gold in the women's 10,000 metres at the opening night of the European Championships in Zurich.

It comes just 10 days after the four-time Olympian claimed won bronze in the 5,000m at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

But she showed no signs of fatigue as she stuck with a breakaway pack and took the lead with a lap to go.

Pavey, who turns 41 next month, replaces Irina Khabarova - part of Russia's triumphant 4x100m relay team in 2006 at the age of 40 years and 27 days - as the oldest ever female European gold medallist.

Speaking after crossing the line in 32 minutes and 22.39 seconds, Pavey told the BBC: "I can't believe it. I am just thrilled.

"I was finding it quite a long way, I thought it was the wrong event at one point."

As if her performance was not remarkable enough, Pavey only gave birth to her daughter 11 months ago, with baby Emily and son Jacob both in Zurich to witness their mum's moment of glory.

"It was really emotional to have my daughter Emily watch me for the first time," she said. "We thought she might be scared, but decided to gamble it.

"To try for so many years and to finally do it at the age of 40 is funny really. I should have learned how it do it by now."

The Devon athlete's winning performance was one better than her last appearance at the 2012 European Championships when she took a silver medal from Helsinki.

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