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10K TRACK OPPORTUNITIES WIDENED

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2 April 2009

The UK’s long distance runners are to be given a greater opportunity to run fast times on a more prestigious stage as the men’s and women’s 10,000m races return to the main schedule at this summer’s Aviva World Trials & UK Championships in Birmingham on 11-13 July, after an absence of 13 years.

The 10,000m has been held as a separate trial in recent years, mostly at Watford as part of the British Milers Club (BMC) Grand Prix meeting. Since 1988, the 10,000m trials have only been part of the main summer championship trials on only two occasions, in 1994 and 1996.

Competition opportunities for 10,000m runners in the UK and Europe have been severely limited in recent years, with the European Cup 10,000m hosted by the European Athletic Association and the UK’s trials being the only annual track events of a sufficiently high standing consistently open to British runners.

It is a situation that UKA National Endurance Coach Ian Stewart - who was appointed last November - is keen to see addressed. As well as moving the dates of the trials, UKA and BMC are also supporting stand-alone 10,000m men’s and women’s races organised by endurance runner Dave Norman to be held at Birmingham University on 25th April.

Stewart said: “We all want to see British distance runners to raise their standards and so do the athletes themselves. We have to give them every opportunity to do so, that means high-quality fast races on the track.

“The organisation of 10,000m races at Birmingham University will mean that athletes who have gained strength off the back of the cross country season now have an early opportunity to add in some speed work and target a swift track time to open their summer.

“Looking further ahead, the re-introduction of the 10,000m to the trials will give the athletes an apporopriate stage to perform and with the addition of pace-makers and invitations extended to some of Europe’s leading distance runners, the ingredients will be in place for some fast times posted by British men and women.”