Winning any athletics title is tough enough – but winning one at the age of 40 would generally have been considered impossible. Unless, of course, your name just happens to be Jo Pavey.


Following her bronze medal in the 10,000m at the Commonwealth Games just ten days before having only just returned to competitive action after giving birth to daughter, Emily, in October 2013, Pavey caused the shock of the Championships in Zurich.

Pavey’s preparations for her assault on 10000m gold made her eventual success all the more remarkable. She was still breast feeding as recently as April and had had to endure a round-trip of two hours each day just to train as a result of her home track in Exeter being closed for resurfacing.

That was soon forgotten, though, as she crossed the line to make history.

“To have Emily watch me for the first time made me feel really emotional,” she said. “We thought she might be scared, but we decided to gamble on it. I can’t believe it, I am thrilled. To try for so many years and to finally do it at the age of 40 is funny. I should have learned how to do it be now.”

She eventually held off, Clemence Calvin, 14 years her junior, to become the oldest gold medallist in European Championship history. Not content with that, however, Pavey has now set her sights on Rio in 2016 and maybe beyond.

“I wasn’t thinking of retiring but the last couple of weeks have given me hope that I will continue in Rio and a couple of years after that,” she said. “I’m definitely still enjoying it and I feel renewed and motivated.”


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