Highgate Harriers host 10,000m event as nation’s elite bid to beat their best

Highgate Harriers will tonight host the inaugural ‘Night of the PBs’ 10,000m race at the Parliament Hill athletics track, with some of the nation’s best club runners working together in a bid to beat their personal best times.

Only 17 members of UK Athletics broke the 30-minute milestone in 2012 – including Mo Farah’s triumph at the Olympics – and that number could be beaten in a matter of minutes this evening.

Highgate’s new and unique performance initiative has attracted national interest, and more than 75 of the nation’s athletes will be joining forces, with all three of the 25-lap races being filled in a matter of days.

“The aim was to create an annual 10,000m track event that brings together quality club runners from all over the country,” said Highgate team manager Ben Pochee.

“The goal is to provide them with a platform to work collectively to achieve their potential and gain the confidence required to truly take on the tough 25-lap event.

“We at Highgate firmly believe that racing standards can be further enhanced if our club runners have an annual opportunity to plan their training towards a trusted, competitive, quality-rich, pace-guided and atmospheric 10,000m track event.”

Ex-10,000m world record holder David Bedford will attend the event, which starts at 7.30pm, to offer inspirational words – and he will also select a winner from each race to reward their efforts in keeping their group on target for a PB time.

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The quickest A-race, which will be attempting to beat the 30-minute mark, will take place at 9pm and the line-up includes Highgate’s own Shaun Dixon.

In addition to that, more than 50 athletes will be simply attempting to beat their personal best times, including several athletes who are aiming to register a qualifying time for the junior European Track and Field Championships.

To help the athletes towards their targets, Highgate will be playing motivational music requested by the competing athletes, including the Clash’s London Calling and Diamond Lights by Hoddle & Waddle.

The City of London Corporation is also providing a live band to play the inspirational Chariots of Fire and Rocky themes, while the sound of homemade maracas will encourage the runners down the home straight.

Members of the public are also warmly invited to get involved and support the athletes, with the first race starting at 7.30pm.

The City of London Corporation leisure and events manager at Hampstead Heath, Paul Maskell, said: “These are fantastic times for new runners on Hampstead Heath.

“We are looking forward to a fantastic event and we’d love to see as many Heath lovers there as possible to be inspired by the athletes and to even become an inspiration themselves.”