Golden Life begins at 40 for Jo Pavey

Britain’s Jo Pavey, struck a blow for the older athlete last night, when she ran her way into the record books on the opening night of the European Athletics Championships in Zurich by beating Irina Khaborova’s record as the oldest ever female gold winner in the history of the championships.

The mother of two held back her attack for her final lap of the women’s 10,000m final and pulled ahead coming down the home straight to win in 32mins 32.39sec, with French duo Clemence Calvin (32.23.58) and Laila Traby (32.26.03) trailing behind to take the remaining silver and bronze.

Pavey who became a mum for the second time in September last year, celebrates her 41st birthday next month and has confirmed that she hopes to run the 10,000 metres distance at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio.

“It’s just unbelievable,” said Pavey, whose first world outdoor championships were in 1997. 

“I just gritted my teeth when we came to the bell and went for it.

“I thought, ‘I’ve just got to for it and give it all I’ve got. I just can’t believe I’ve come away with a gold at this age.

“It’s taken me a long time to learn the things that I needed to about running – just to relax. Being a busy mum has done me a lot of good.”

Pavey produced a similarly gritty run to claim a 5,000m bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in August.

Her time winning gold in Zurich was nearly one minute thirty seconds slower than her time of 30:53.20 at the London Olympics in 2012 where she finished seventh behind Kenyan winner Tirunesh Dibaba, two fellow Ethiopians, two Kenyans and a Bahraini.

She first came to attention when she won the English Schools 1,500 m title in a new under 15’s British record time 26 years ago at the 1988 championships, when she finished eight places and 13 seconds ahead of Paula Radcliffe.

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