The Night of 10,000m PBs returns to London’s Parliament Hill track on Saturday (19 May) and it promises to be bigger and better than ever before.

The festival of 10,000m running, which is supported by London Marathon Events Ltd, has transformed distance running on the track both for athletes and spectators.

It has created a unique atmosphere, with free admission and positioning spectators up close and personal to the runners. Fans are allowed to watch from lane three of the track and from the marquees that stretch over both the home and back straight which organisers have christened the ‘lactic tunnels of love’.

The event has proved so popular that this year it is also incorporating the European 10,000m Cup, bringing together some of the best distance runners in Europe. In total, 99 athletes representing 25 nations will take part in addition to the usual races for domestic athletes.  

The organisers continue to improve the event year on year. In 2018, spectators will be able to walk up and over the action using a new pedestrian bridge that will be built on the home straight that also allows fans to watch the action from the infield, helping to create a true wall of noise.

Spain, who dominated the European 10,000m cup in Minsk last year, is bringing a formidable men’s squad to London including reigning champion Antonio Abadia and European Indoor 3000m champion Adel Mechaal who is making his 10,000m debut.

The British team will be hoping for a strong showing on home soil. The team includes Ben Connor, Alex Yee, Sam Stabler, Luke Traynor and Mohamud Aadan.

Another man in the field with true 25 lap pedigree, but not in the GB team, is the reigning champion Andy Vernon who was ninth in the Commonwealth Games 10,000m last month in a time of 28:17:11, which was inside the qualifying mark for the European Championships in Berlin.

That European Championships qualifying standard of 28:55 will be the target of many of the other men in the race, including Florian Carvalho of France and Yemaneberhan Crippa from Italy, both making their debuts.

In the women’s event, the GB line-up will be led by Emelia Gorecka who will be making her 10,000m track debut.

Gorecka made a stunning return from long-term injury over the winter, finishing eighth at the European Cross Country Championships and second at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country International. She started her track season by running 15:30:59 over 5,000m in California last month.

Joining Gorecka in the GB team are Charlotte Arter, Jenny Nesbitt, Louise Small, Claire Duck and Faye Fullerton while Kate Avery and Katrina Wootton, who are not in the GB team but in the A race, also add domestic interest.

The fastest runner based on season’s bests in the field is Israel’s Lonah Chemtai (31:39.63) while the line-up also features former two-time winner Sabrina Mockenhaupt from Germany and former European cross country champion Sophie Duarte from France.

The qualifying time the women will be looking to achieve is 33:20.

For spectators, there will also be: 

  • RAF flypast by two Typhoon jets
  • Question and answer session with Jo Pavey, Alyson Dixon and European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen at 18:00
  • 35 pirate drummers, stilt walkers, fire jugglers, licensed bars, quality food

Race Director Ben Pochee said: “The Night of the 10,000m PBs was born from a desire to improve racing standards and spectator engagement has become central to the event’s success. Our event has grown since 2013 due to organic grassroots momentum, volunteer energy, word of mouth passion and an overriding sense of goodwill from our partners. I hope many more people can join us this year and witness just how exciting athletics can be.”

Hugh Brasher, Event Director for London Marathon Events, said: “London Marathon Events is proud to fund an extensive annual programme with British Athletics and other partners to improve the standard of British distance running.

“We’re delighted to again support Ben’s work on the Night of the 10,000m PBs and it’s great that this year’s event features the European Cup. It will be a fantastic day of 10,000m racing.”

The programme begins with an inter-schools relay at 13:00. The women’s A race, which incorporates the European Cup, British Championships and European Championship trials, is at 20:30 and the men’s A race, which also incorporates all of the above, finishes the event at 21:15.