Eilish McColgan came within two seconds of Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing British and European 10km record at the Vitality London 10,000 on Monday (2) morning.
After a frantic sprint finish, McColgan stopped the clock at 30:23 to miss the record by a tantalising margin. However, Eilish did relieve her mother and coach Liz of yet another family record as she improved her Scottish record of 30:38 which had stood since 1989.
This was McColgan’s second near-European record in just over a week, proving the European 5000m silver medallist is back in top shape after testing positive for coronavirus in March. In Malaga last week, McColgan clocked 14:45 for 5km to fall one second short of Sifan Hassan’s European standard bearer.
At twice the distance eight days later, McColgan came within touching distance of Radcliffe’s 10km mark of 30:21 from 2003 which also stood as a world record for more than a decade. However, the European all-time list is headed by Lonah Chemtai Salpeter’s 30:05 clocking from Tilburg in 2019 although that time was not ratified for record purposes.
“I am gutted to have missed the British record by a couple of seconds. I probably didn’t believe I could do it, so I went into the race thinking I’d be happy to run 31:40, but I’m in much better shape than I give myself credit for,” said McColgan.
McColgan passed through halfway in 15:15 - by contrast Radcliffe rocketed through 5km in 14:48 when she clocked 30:21 - and despite mustering up some of her track speed in the last 200 metres, McColgan couldn’t quite revise the record books.
“I only saw the clock when I turned the corner towards the finish line, and I thought: ‘Oh my god, I could make it in time. I think I probably ran a 200m PB in the push for the finish line. I was so desperate to get the record but hopefully there will be another opportunity to go for it again later this year,” said McColgan who holds the European 10km record in a women’s only race at 30:52.
McColgan won the women’s race by more than one minute from fellow Olympian Jess Piasecki in 31:28 with Samantha Harrison third in 31:44.
In the men’s race, British international Ellis Cross achieved a significant victory over multiple Olympic, European and world 5000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah who was racing for the first time in almost one year due to a stress fracture.
Cross broke clear of Farah in the last two kilometres for victory in 28:40 to Farah’s 28:44. "I’m lost for words – I did not expect this in a million years. Honestly, I know it’s a cliché, but I couldn’t believe it. I just felt very good from the get-go. Obviously, I knew Farah had a finish, so the last 2K I thought I’d try and wind it up a bit – try to sting his legs a little bit to hold him off,” said Cross.