Britain’s Steph Twell overhauled European champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter to win the European 10,000m Cup in London on Saturday (6) while Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa timed his finish well to win the men’s race.
Held as part of the Night of the 10,000m PBs event at the Parliament Hill track, hundreds of spectators flocked to north-west London to enjoy the festival-like atmosphere where they filled the outer lanes of the track.
In the women’s race, defending champion Salpeter set off at a fast past and had soon built up a significant lead, passing through 3000m in 9:18, some seven seconds ahead of a chase pack that included Twell, Eilish McColgan, Liv Westphal of France and Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack.
Salpeter maintained that advantage through half way, reached in 15:37.26, while McCormack and Westphal started to drift off the pack of the chase pack. Cheered on by the home supporters, Twell and McColgan gradually began to eat away at Salpeter’s advantage and closed in on the Israeli distance runner with each passing lap.
McColgan was unable to stick with Twell, the 2016 European 5000m bronze medallist, who caught up with Salpeter with four laps remaining. She stayed on the shoulder of the long-time leader for a few more minutes but then hit the front with 500 metres remaining.
Salpeter had no response to Twell as the 29-year-old moved up a gear for the final lap, eventually crossing the finish line in a huge PB of 31:08.13. Salpeter finished second in a national record of 31:15.78, while a fast-finishing McColgan placed third in 31:16.76. As Twell was competing as a guest in the race, Salpeter claimed first place in the European Cup standings.
All three women were comfortably inside the qualifying standards for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
In the men’s race, paced by Dawit Wolde, Crippa was always prominent in the lead pack. The pace slipped outside the required schedule for the World Championships qualifying mark as the leaders went through the half-way point in 14:02.80.
Once the pacemakers had dropped out, Belgium’s Soufiane Bouchikhi took a turn at the front with Crippa, Norway’s Sondre Nordstad Moen, Germany’s Amanal Petros and Britain’s Ben Connor close behind.
Crippa soon returned to the front, though, and upped the pace going into the final kilometre. Petros was the only athlete to stick with Crippa and the German even moved into the lead on the final lap, but Crippa stuck close to him and kicked ahead in the closing stages to take the win in 27:49.79. Petros finished second in a PB of 27:52.25 with Connor taking third in 27:57.60, also a PB.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF