OUT­STAND­ING CON­TRI­BU­TION

Runner's World (UK) - - PB Award -

JO PAVEY

When 43-year-old Jo Pavey re­tires, what will she be best re­mem­bered for? Will it be her par­tic­i­pa­tion in five Olympic Games? For show­ing that per­se­ver­ance pays off, by win­ning her first in­ter­na­tional gold medal at the age of 40 when she took the 2014 Euro­pean 10,000m ti­tle in Zurich? Or will it be for com­ing third later that year in BBC’S Sports Per­son­al­ity of the Year? Prob­a­bly a mix­ture of all three.

For much of her ca­reer Pavey has flown un­der the radar, known mostly only to ath­let­ics fans – and while all of that changed with the late­ca­reer surge of re­cent years, she has built a body of work since 1997 that stands scru­tiny with the best: sec­ond on the all-time UK list for 5000m and 10,000m (be­hind Paula Rad­cliffe); 2006 Com­mon­wealth

5000m sil­ver; 2012 Euro­pean 10,000m sil­ver; 2014 Com­mon­wealth 5000m bronze and, as of March this year, 2007 World 10,000m bronze (Pavey was up­graded from fourth place af­ter the sil­ver medal­list, El­van Abeylegesse, ret­ro­spec­tively failed a drugs test). But that is only part of the rea­son why she is wor­thy of this award. Hav­ing been hon­oured to have her as an RW colum­nist for the past eight years we have seen just how in­spir­ing she is to run­ners up and down the coun­try.

Jo will no doubt be dis­ap­pointed that she never had the chance to cel­e­brate her 2007 World Cham­pi­onship medal on the podium in Osaka, Ja­pan, at the time, but she can look back on her ca­reer with the sat­is­fac­tion of know­ing that she now has proof she has stood shoul­der to shoul­der with the very best at world level. For the rest of us, that was never in doubt.

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