Record-breaking Jo Pavey wins European gold aged nearly 41

British mother-of-two becomes oldest ever female gold winner in history of the event after winning 10,000m

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 August, 2014, 10:49am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 August, 2014, 10:49am

Just a month short of her 41st birthday, Britain’s Jo Pavey ran her way into the record books on the opening night of the European Athletics Championships by becoming the oldest ever female gold winner in the history of the continental event.

The mother of two saved her attack for the last of the 25 laps in the women’s 10,000m final and pulled clear in the home straight to win in 32 mins 32.39sec, with French duo Clemence Calvin (32.23.58) and Laila Traby (32.26.03) taking silver and bronze.

In doing so, Pavey, who lives in the English west country at Tiverton in Devon, eclipsed Irina Khaborova as the oldest ever female gold medallist.

The Russian was 40 years and 27 days when she helped her country win the 4 x 100m relay in Helsinki in 1994.

Pavey, who gave birth to her second child in September last year, is 40 years and 325 days.

It’s so funny. I didn’t know I’d still be able to run at this age.
Jo Pavey

“It’s just unbelievable,” said Pavey, whose first major championships was the 1997 world outdoor championships.

“I just gritted my teeth when we came to the bell and went for it.

“It’s so funny. I didn’t know I’d still be able to run at this age.

“I feel like I must be dreaming. It feels like it’s not real. It’s all a bit surreal.”

“To be honest, I didn’t necessarily feel that confident towards the end. It felt like a long way. I was thinking to myself, ‘I don’t feel very good here.’

“I thought, ‘I’ve just got to for it and give it all I’ve got. I just can’t believe I’ve come away with a gold at this age.

“It’s taken me a long time to learn the things that I needed to about running – just to relax. Being a busy mum has done me a lot of good.”

Pavey produced a similarly gritty run to claim a 5,000m bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on August 2 and was bidding for her second medal over 10,000m at the European Championships.