2016 Vitality London 10,000
Weir wins double as Butchart bounces back to take first British title
Wheelchair star David Weir completed a spectacular road race double at the Vitality London 10,000 in central London this morning while Scotlandâ€™s Andrew Butchart went from second to first in less than 24 hours to claim his first British championship title.
Weir shook off any lingering tiredness from his historic barrier-breaking one-mile world record in the Vitality Westminster Mile on Sunday to win the British menâ€™s 10kmÂ wheelchair title in 21 minutes and six seconds ahead of South Africaâ€™s Ernst van Dyk, while Butchart bounced back from yesterdayâ€™s narrow defeat in the menâ€™s mile to defeat defending champion Andy Vernon in a personal best of 28:28.
Butchart has been in brilliant form recently with a 13:13.30 5000m PB at the FBK Games in Hengelo last weekend. But he was disappointed to miss out on the British one-mile title in front of Buckingham Place on Sunday afternoon when Nick Goolab was given the judgesâ€™ verdict after the pair dipped for the line at the end of a thrilling race.
But the confident 24-year-old, who was fourth here last year, returned to The Mall this morning in determined mood. Leading from the start, he opened a 30-metre lead on Vernon by halfway on the central London course and came home 36Â seconds clear to take 41 seconds from his one-year-old PB.
It was a measure of Butchartâ€™s performance on a cold and breezy morning that he finished 10 seconds quicker than Vernonâ€™s winning PB in 2015 and now lies behind only Mo Farah among British athletes in the nine-year history of this event.
â€œYesterdayâ€™s mile probably helped my legs to be honest,â€ said Butchart after he breezed through the Finish Line on Spur Road. â€œIf I hadnâ€™t run yesterday I probably would have felt worse, but I ended up taking more than 30 seconds from my PB.
â€œI knew I could go sub-28, because Iâ€™ve been in such good form, but itâ€™s my first UK title so Iâ€™ve got to be pleased with that.â€
Weir was rightly pleased with his weekendâ€™s work too. The six-times London Marathon champion became the first ever sub three-minute miler when he sped around St Jamesâ€™s Park in 2:57 on Sunday and returned to the scene 18 hours later to win the inaugural wheelchair race at the London 10,000 with a start-to-finish 33-second victory over van Dyk.
â€œItâ€™s always good to get a double,â€ said Weir, who has a 10kmÂ road PB of 19:26. â€œIâ€™d like to have broken 20 minutes today but it was quite windy out there and there are a lot of corners on this course.
â€œBut there were no after effects from yesterday and this morningâ€™s race capped a really good weekend for me. Now we just need to get some more of the top guys down here and make it a more competitive race.â€
Weir has targeted marathon gold at the Rio Paralympic Games this September so was delighted to beat the 10-times Boston Marathon winner by such a clear margin.
â€œI went from the start but Ernst was always lingering there five-to-10Â metres back,â€ said the 36-year-old. â€œYou know Ernst is always going to chase you down, thatâ€™s his strength, but Iâ€™m confident now I can stay ahead.â€
Two-times London Marathon winner Shelly Woods was in confident form too as she dominated the womenâ€™s wheelchair event to beat Sundayâ€™s one-mile champion Nikki Emerson by two-and-a-half minutes in 27:47.
Meanwhile, late entrant Lily Partridge was a surprise victor in the womenâ€™s elite race in 33:03, her second 10kmÂ PB of the year.
â€œIt was nice to come and win again on this course,â€ said Woods, who has dropped out of the London Marathon in the last two years. â€œIt was nice to be finishing here in front of Buckingham Palace instead of at Tower Bridge. It was fun.â€
Butchart appeared to be having fun too as he sped away from the field from the start and passed the 1kmÂ point on the Strand in 2:53 with Vernon heading a pack of five in second place.
Butchart was quickly into a rhythm of his own, and the Scot went through 2kmÂ in 5:43, extending his lead to 30m by the time he passed the 3kmÂ mark near Holborn in 8:30. The reigning champion was now clear in second place, but Butchart was already away and gone.
He strode past St Paulâ€™s Cathedral and clicked through 4kmÂ in 11:19 with a 17-second lead, which he maintained to halfway (14:10) close to the Bank of England.
Vernon was doing his best to close the gap but Butchart was in a race of his own. By 6kmÂ he was 22Â seconds clear in 17:04. He passed 7kmÂ in 19:57 and 8kmÂ in 22:46, now so far ahead that he had time to pose for a cheeky selfie with a spectator on Whitehall, making a peace sign to the camera phone before stretching out along Bird Cage Walk to finish in glorious isolation in front of the Palace.
â€œIt was just a bit of fun and banter,â€ said Butchart of his photo antics afterwards. â€œThey were having fun and I was having fun too. I just hope they get the picture.
â€œOnce I found my rhythm the course felt really flat and fast and I could just bang it out,â€ he added. â€œI noticed the wind a bit on the way back but Iâ€™m from Scotland so Iâ€™m used to it.
â€œIt felt like a comfortable pace and I know Andy is not really fighting fit at the moment, so I was confident.â€
Vernon may have been denied a hat-trick of London 10,000 victories but the European silver medallist on the track was happy to acknowledge Butchartâ€™s dominance on the roads this morning.
â€œButchart is in a different league at the moment, so it was always going to be very difficult to beat him today,â€ said the 30-year-old Aldershot, Farnham and District athlete. â€œI was hoping that over 10kmÂ he would struggle towards the end and slow down, but heâ€™s too strong and quick at the moment.
â€œI wanted a hard run today but Butchart did that instead and I couldnâ€™t quite go with him.â€
Ben Connor finished third in 29:21 on his London 10,000 debut while Rachel Felton was runner-up in the womenâ€™s race behind Partridge in 33:35, 10 seconds clear of third-placed Hannah Walker.
Like Butchart, Partridge led from the early stages. She pulled away from a chasing pack containing race favourite Charlotte Purdue after halfway, driven on by a desire to put her poor performance at last weekendâ€™s British Olympic 10,000m trials well and truly behind her.
â€œItâ€™s nice to draw a line under last week,â€ said the 25-year-old British cross country international who finished fifth in the Highgate trials. â€œI just wanted to get my confidence back and it was nice to feel myself again.
â€œI hadnâ€™t planned to run here but last weekend was so awful I just wanted to get out again. It was good of the organisers to let me in and thankfully I have another British title at the end of it.â€
Behind the elites, around 12,000 runners completed the scenic course which takes in many of the capitalâ€™s best known sights, including Trafalgar Square, St Paulâ€™s Cathedral, Whitehall and Parliament Square.
Top ThreeÂ Finishers
1. Andrew Butchart (Central) 28:28
2. Andy Vernon (Aldershot, Farnham & District) 29:04
3. Ben Connor (Derby) 29:21
1. Lily Partridge (Aldershot, Farnham & District) 33:03
2. Rachel Felton (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) 33:35
3. Hannah Walker (Run Fast) 33:45
1. David Weir (Weir Archer Academy) 21:06
2. Ernst van Dyk (South Africa) 21:39
3. Rafael Botello Jimenez (Spain) 24:51
1. Shelly Woods (Weir Archer Academy) 27:47
2. Nikki Emerson (British Wheelchair Athletics Association) 30:21
3. Martyna Snopek (Weir Archer Academy) 36:57