EUROPEAN champion Jo Pavey is to return to Glasgow, where she won 5,000 metres Commonwealth bronze last month, to race in the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run on Sunday,
The 40-year-old mother of two produced one of the standout performances of the Glasgow 2014 games when she charged up the home straight at Hampden to take third place in the women’s 5,000m final behind Kenyans Mercy Cherona and Janet Kisa.
The inspirational Pavey went on to win the 10,000m title at the European Championships in Zurich, becoming the oldest female gold medallist in the 80-year history of the continental competition.
After her trailblazing summer track feats, the wonder woman from the English west country has now set her sights on making a mark on the roads – and she has made the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run her first target of the autumn season.
The half marathon will be her first race after she turns 41 on 20 September, and offers the Exeter Harrier a chance to make a swift return to a city that will forever occupy a special place in her heart.
“The Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run is really important to me,” said Pavey. “It’s a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to run in a big road race and the Great Scottish Run will be a fantastic half marathon for me to be involved with – especially after the experience I had at the Commonwealth Games.
“It means a lot to me to be coming back to Glasgow and I think it will be quite emotional, especially as the course goes past many of the venues that were used at the Games.
“I’ll never forget the deafening noise that night I ran at Hampden Park. The crowd were awesome and the atmosphere was absolutely brilliant. It felt like a repeat of the 2012 Olympics and it was so special the way the crowd were so close to the track.
“It was a special atmosphere and a special race for me. I had a race plan to run as though I was aiming to get a medal, but I didn’t necessarily think it would result in me getting one, as the three Kenyan girls were so strong.
“I was just so absolutely thrilled to beat one of them and get a medal, I couldn’t believe it!”
Pavey – who has a four-year-old son, Jacob, and who gave birth to daughter Emily only in September last year – will be running her first half marathon since the 2012 Great North Run, where she finished fifth in 69:20.
Despite her medal winning success on the track this summer, Pavey is keen to return to road racing. She admits she has unfinished business with the marathon, after twice clocking 2hr 28min in London and New York in 2011.
“I haven’t entered a marathon at this stage but it’s definitely something on my mind,” added Pavey, who has been picked to run the 5,000m for Europe in the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakesh on 13-14 September. “I would love to improve my PB at the marathon but I’m not going round saying I can.
“Actually doing it is a different matter. You have to get so many things right on a particular day. It’s definitely something I’m thinking about for the future but for the moment I’m just excited about doing a big half marathon again – and about returning to Glasgow.”