Pavey was just a month short of her 41st birthday when she became the oldest female European champion in history last August. The Devon athlete crowned a 26-year career in Zürich with her first major championship title, just 10 months after giving birth to her second child, and 10 days after winning a 5000m bronze medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
The Zürich gold was Pavey’s first in a senior international career stretching back to 1997 when she ran 1500m for Britain at the IAAF World Championships in Athens. She has since represented her country at every summer Olympic Games from Sydney 2000 to London 2012 as well as numerous World and European Championships on track and cross country.
But it was Pavey’s heart-warming victory in Zürich last summer, at 40 years and 325 days, that caught the public’s imagination and led to the mother of two being voted third at the 2014 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards last December.
Pavey returns to the annual Bupa London 10,000 on Whit Bank Holiday Monday for the first time since 2011 when she became the first British winner of the women’s race, beating Gemma Steel and Paula Radcliffe just six weeks after making her debut at the Virgin Money London Marathon.
“Last year was an incredible one for me, and completely unexpected,” said Pavey, who gave birth to her daughter, Emily, in September 2013, four years after her son Jacob was born.
“After finally winning gold in Zürich I am keen to get back out racing again and the Bupa London 10,000 will be a great way to test my fitness ahead of the summer,” she added. “Wth the World Championships coming up in August and the Rio Olympic Games around the corner in 2016 this will be the perfect platform for the track season.
“I enjoyed racing through London against Gemma and Paula in 2011 and am looking forward to another good performance this time.”
Far from slowing down with age, Pavey will be hoping to improve on her 2011 winning time of 32 minutes 22 seconds, and could well set her sights on her 10km road best of 31:47, or even Mary Keitany’s women’s course record of 31:06.
The Bupa London 10,000 incorporates the British Athletics 10km Championships for men and women. The runners will start on The Mall in St James's Park, run east down the Strand before heading into the City of London over Holborn Viaduct. They will return down Whitehall and Birdcage Walk to finish on Spur Road outside Buckingham Palace.
The event forms the second part of a packed weekend of road running around central London which will start on Sunday morning (24 May) with the third edition of the Bupa Westminster Mile, a series of races around St James’s Park for runners of all ages and abilities, from elites to families with young children.
This year’s Westminster Mile 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.
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