The Vitality London 10,000 returned to central London yesterday (Bank Holiday Monday 2 May) for the first time since 2019 – with an explosive elite race that saw Eilish McColgan come within seconds of the European and British 10K record, while in the men’s race, Aldershot, Farnham and District club runner Ellis Cross forced multiple world and Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah into second place.
Cross outsprinted Farah in the closing stages to seal the biggest win of his career in 28:40, four seconds ahead of Farah’s time of 28:44.
Asked how he felt on beating the mighty Farah, Cross said: “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.
“The route is just amazing – it’s only every so often that you’re able to even take an opportunity like this. To do so well in front of such a big crowd is crazy. But I think it helped – obviously everyone was supporting Sir Mo and nobody knew who I was! So to be able to hold him off and win it – I can’t believe it!”
Mohamud Aadan came third in the men’s race, in a time of 28:48.
Eilish McColgan, meanwhile, was just two seconds away from breaking Paula Radcliffe’s 19-year-old European and British record of 30:21 – winning the women’s race in 30:23. However that time meant she did beat her mum’s, Liz Nuttall (formerly McColgan) Scottish 10K record of 30:39, set in Orlando in 1989.
“I am gutted to have missed the British record by a couple of seconds,” said McColgan after the race. “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.
“To be honest, 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!’”
Speaking about making her debut in the Vitality London 10,000 McColgan said: “It’s my first time at the event and I loved it. The crowds were brilliant, and you get other runners cheering you on too, so that really helped when I felt tired – there’s no time to switch off.
“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.”
Sixteen wheelchair athletes also took part, with reigning Vitality London 10,000 champion Danny Sidbury winning the men’s race in 21:22, followed by a close-fought battle for second and third between Paralympic star David Weir and JohnBoy Smith.
There was another Scottish win in the women’s wheelchair race, with Samantha Kinghorn taking the crown in 24:45, followed by Eden Rainbow-Cooper and 2019 winner Shelly Woods in third.