Night of the 10,000m PBs - May 19th, 2018, Parliament Hill Ahletics Track, London
There’s a distance-running party taking place at Parliament Hill in London this Saturday – and we’re all invited.
If you haven’t heard of the Highgate Harriers Night of the 10,000m PBs, here’s a history of the revolutionary grassroots spectacle in a whistle-stop paragraph or two.
The event is a magnificent volunteer-driven bonanza made possible by race director Ben Pochee, Highgate Harriers and the wider running community.
From three races at its modest first outing on a wet and breezy Thursday night in June 2013, the event has trebled in races and sky-rocketed in quality and imagination.
The event was first organised in response to the declining standards and level of opportunity for runners to race over 25 laps in the United Kingdom. It has gone on to provide the setting for hundreds of personal bests and to inspire a number of 10,000m events around the country.
While the day is mainly about the racing, that is now just one part of the day-long festival of athletics. Like the build-up to the Glastonbury headliner announcement, anticipation builds each year around just what Ben has in store to top the previous year.
For those that thought a Lamborghini on the infield and completely covered back straight bar in 2016 would be the pinnacle, then just remember last year’s double-decker London bus, two covered straights and 8,000 people lining lane three.
Whether you’re new to running and have never been to an athletics event before, or an old-hand truly integrated into the running community, the Night of the PBs promises to change perceptions of what a distance-running event can be.
In among the racing this Saturday will be a seminar featuring five-time Olympian Jo Pavey MBE and the President of European Athletics, Svein Arne Hansen. Exciting partnerships and special guests have been teased on the Night of the PBs Facebook page over the last few weeks too, including performances from Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Faces of Disco, the Street Elite Bike Stunt team as well as an RAF flypast.
There will be nine races this year. Yes, nine 10,000m races. You’d have been hard-pushed to find nine 10,000m races in the UK in a calendar year a little over five years ago, let alone nine in one day.
The British 10,000m Championship races will once again headline the event and selection for the European Championships in Berlin this summer will also be up for grabs. In a first for the event, the European 10,000m Cup will be incorporated into the championship showdowns.
But what is the European 10,000m Cup? It is an annual day-long event aimed at improving the level of middle and long-distance running on the continent. First started in 1997, this year will be the first time it has been held in the UK.
Driven by Svein Arne Hansen and his commitment to leading change, 99 of the Continent’s best will be joining the party in what promises to nudge the quality up still further.
We will be there again keeping the tempo high and the party going underneath the back straight marquee on the Soar Straight. Soar founder Tim Soar, will even be on hand high above the track in a scissor-lift mixing the athletes’ motivational tunes.
Like we said, the Night of the 10,000m PBs isn’t your typical athletics meet. Don’t be swayed or told otherwise. Parliament Hill is hosting the best show in town this weekend – and it will be a party not to be missed.
Entry is free for all, come along and join us for a beer in lane 3 this Saturday at -
Parliament Hill Athletics Track, Hampstead Heath, London, NW3 2JP
Race 1 of 9 starts at 2:15 pm, women's and men's British Champs and Euro Cup start at 8:30pm and 9:15pm respectively.