The Highgate Harriers have a winning event on their hands. Now in its fifth year, the HIghgate Night of 10,000 PBs is a smart success. It also proves that, providing actually innovative events can be done in our sport and this is truly one of them.
Without further adieu, here are my five lessons from the wonderful event at Hampstead Heath on May 20.
1. The HIghgate Harriers get it. If you do it right, they will come. Hats off to Ben Pochee, the manager of this fine event. Ben is a life long runner, and Highgate Harrier member since 1984. He is one of those guys who can only enjoy an event he manages afterwards. With the sponsors, athletes, fans and pyrotechnics, Ben Pochee and his club have actually added innovation to the sport of athletics. There should be Nights of 3000m PBs, 5000m PBs and even, 1500m PBs! And as Ben Pochee told me, ” and to think, someone would consider the 10,000 meters boring!”
2. True creativity lurks in the mind of Tom Bedford. Tom Bedford, and his lovely fiancee, Jade Parker, had been developing the Richmond Running Festival for several years now. But, in the month of May, it is all about the Night of 10,000m PBs. Managed on a modest sponsorship budget, the Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m PBs may be the smartest sponsorship a company can do in our sport. The nearly five thousand fans, British athletics fans of all ages, prove that 25 laps around the track can be lots of fun. London Pride, London Marathon Events, and Strava put their support behind Tom Bedford and Ben Pochee’s vision, and this event is a winner. My big question is, why is this event not done “across the pond?” Ask Tom Bedford all about it. If you need to reach him, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. This event is a real keeper, and can be translated to the U.S.
3. Andy Vernon loves racing at Highgate. Andy Vernon just ran a 10,000m in Palo Alto, California and ran 27:58 with a sore back. He believes that he can run much faster, without that sore back thing. On a cool, windy night, Andy took control here and ran 28:21, and looked back in his magical shape. When I asked him about his fitness compared to 2014, when he took silver at the Euro 10,000m and bronze in the Euro 5,000m, Andy told this reporter that his hard workout test run for 2017 had been the exact time as that of 2014. Andy told us that ” I love racing here. The crowd is so close. It gives you a greater intimacy than indoors, or an outdoor track with 80,000 people!”
4. Beth Potter has found her groove! Beth Potter had run in 2014 and 2016 at Highgate and taken second both times. This year, Beth has focused on the triathlon, cut her running mileage to 50 miles a week and just kicked butt at Highgate. Running the first 5000m in 16:10 with Stephanie Twell, Beth cranked through a 15:46 for the last 5000 meters. Her final 800 meters, was, as Beth noted, ” fun to run so fast.” Thats confidence in training and racing. Good for you, Beth!
5. Watch Stephanie Twell, she has a nice future in this event! Stephanie Twell had some terrible injuries over the past few years, and her recovery was not guaranteed. But then, consider the human spirit. Stephanie, training partner of Beth Potter, ran 16:10 for the first 5000 meters, and then, 16:06 for the second half, falling behind when Beth Potter cranked the last 800 meters. Watch Stephanie, she is a quick learner and RunBlogRun bets she will next break 32 minutes by some distance!