Jo Pavey and Helen Clitheroe are the two biggest names in the eighth edition of the 10K road race in which some 12,000 runners are expected to complete the central London course that starts on The Mall and takes in Trafalgar Square, the City and Whitehall before finishing on Spur Road in front of Buckingham Palace.
Pavey famously became the oldest female European champion in history when she won 10,000m gold in Zürich last August, just a month short of her 41st birthday, while Clitheroe, who’s almost exactly 100 days younger, won the European indoor 3000m title in 2011, aged 37.
The two old friends and rivals could not be more evenly matched for not only are they almost identical in age, but their best 10K road times are almost exactly the same too – Clitheroe’s stands at 31:45 from that win in Manchester four years ago, while Pavey’s is just two seconds slower, set when she won the Great Manchester Run in 2007.
Among the pair’s opponents will be British internationals Charlotte Purdue and Elle Vernon, while Elle’s namesake Andy Vernon, the European 10,000m silver medallist, will be favourite to retain the men’s title against Liverpool’s Jonny Mellor, marathon international Scott Overall, who was third last year, and Luke Caldwell, a Commonwealth Games 5000m and 10,000m finalist from Glasgow last summer.
The Bupa London 10,000 forms the second part of a packed weekend of road running in central London which starts on Sunday morning (24 May) with the third edition of the Bupa Westminster Mile, a series of 30 one-mile races around St James’s Park involving 7,000 runners of all ages and abilities, from elites to families with toddlers and young children.
The programme, organised by the London Marathon, incorporates the British Athletics One-Mile Road Championships for runners in a range of age groups, including seniors, juniors and wheelchair athletes.
This year’s event marks 30 years since Steve Cram shattered the world mile record in the Dream Mile at Oslo’s Bislett stadium in July 1985, a time which still stands as the British record.
The man hoping to make history this year is Britain’s six-time London Marathon wheelchair champion David Weir who takes on Swiss star Marcel Hug in a bid to become the first wheelchair racer under the three-minute barrier.
Weir, who won four gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, is going for a Bupa Westminster Mile hat-trick. To break three minutes he needs to knock seven seconds from the course record he set 12 months ago. He also cruised to victory at the inaugural championships in 2013 in 3:09.
Former World Championships 1500m silver medallist Hannah England will be favourite to regain the senior women’s title she won two years ago when she faces a top-class field including Glasgow Commonwealth Games 1500m finalist Jemma Simpson, and fellow-international Charlene Thomas, who was third last year.
James Brewer, a former European junior medallist, will be the man to beat in the senior men’s contest, where his opponents include Chris Warburton, who’s hoping to reach the top of the podium after finishing third in 2013 and second 12 months ago.
Last year’s bronze medallist Andrew Heyes is also in the field, along with Lee Emanuel, who won a European indoor silver in Prague this March, and the ever-green Anthony Whiteman who won European indoor silver as far back as 1996 but is still going strong at the age of 43 with world masters records at 800m, one mile and 1500m to his name.
More than 90 British Olympians will line up in the Olympians Mile just before 13:00 in a field that includes five Olympic champions: Robin Cousins (1980 figure skating), Denise Lewis (2000 heptathlon) and three members of the 1988 gold medal winning hockey team. Bill Lucas, Britain’s oldest Olympian at 98, will be the official starter.
The Bupa Westminster Mile is staged in partnership with Westminster City Council as part of Westminster’s commitment to encourage more people to take up sport and be more physically active.
The Bupa Westminster Mile races begin at 09:45 on Sunday 24 May and continue throughout the day until the final event, the British Athletics Junior One-Mile Road Championships, at 14:40.
The British Athletics Senior One-Mile Road Championships, including Weir’s attempt to make wheelchair racing history, are scheduled for 13:20.
The Bupa Westminster Mile also marks the start of Bupa's new Feel Great Britain mission to encourage and inspire the nation to enjoy feel great moments. As well as the races, the Bupa Westminster Mile promises a great day out for all the family. In addition to live music all day, there will be plenty of feel great activities, including yoga masterclasses, children's activities, wildlife trails and an arts and crafts tent.
Vernon, Pavey, Clitheroe and co will set off in the Bupa London 10,000 at 10:00 on Monday 25 May.
For more information about the Bupa London 10,000 go to: www.london10000.co.uk
For more about the Bupa Westminster Mile visit: www.bupawestminstermile.co.uk