European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey is considering extending her athletics career beyond the Rio Olympic Games – and has suggested that the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia may also be within her grasp.
Last year, Pavey won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in the 5,000m and the 10,000m gold medal at the 2014 European Championships in Zürich – just ten months after giving birth to her second child, making her the oldest female European champion in history.
2014 was the year that Jo Pavey was expected to announce her retirement, yet at 41, she’s still going strong and setting goals.
She said “At the start of 2014, I thought this was the start of my final year and if I didn’t make it into the team, I would retire. I didn’t think there was any chance I would make the team but I did. And to then find myself winning medals was just such a shock.”
Now, having proven to herself, her family and the athletics world that she is still capable of competing on the international stage, Pavey has set her sights on the big tournaments that lie ahead.
“2015 is a bit of a shock really because I thought I was going to retire. And now, to be sitting down, making race plans and training schedules is something that I am excited about because it’s a bonus not to be retiring.”
Jo admits that her main focus right now is getting into the squad and getting on that plane to the Olympic Games in Rio. However the World Athletics Championship in London in 2017 and, excitingly, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games are mouth-watering temptations that can’t be ruled out.
“People have asked me if I want to do London 2017 and especially as the Championships will be on home soil again, that’s quite tempting but also equally tempting is the thought of going to Australia.
I have great memories of being in the Gold Coast. I was there backpacking around the world and the training we put in when we did that led me to come back, become a senior athlete and make my first World Championships in 1997. We also spent New Year’s Eve in the Gold Coast and of course we returned there for my first ever Olympics, in Sydney. So to go back there would bring back special memories for me. Even if I can’t compete I would love to be involved with Team England”
Results and fitness are the factors that will decide if Pavey gets the opportunity to return to Australia, but it’s certainly a dream that she has and a trip she knows she will enjoy.
Looking back on her successes in Glasgow, Jo comments on how flexible the staff were, “I have very fond memories of being a part of Team England because the staff are always great. They put you at ease and make it possible for you to do the training that you need to do.”
In 2015, aside from aiming for Team GB selection, Jo’s plans will be to get herself fit and aim for Team GB selection for Rio. Amongst her plans include the Morrisons Great Manchester Run (10 May) and the Morrisons Great Newham London Run (19 July). The Great Manchester Run is Europe’s largest 10k event and the Great Newham London Run is set to become Britain’s biggest mass participation event, giving runners the chance to cross the line at the former Olympic Stadium.
Jo stated “The Great Run events are fantastic because they are open to everybody and they often include fun family events. They are very inclusive, have a great atmosphere and are great fun, family events that are well organised.
On the elite side, they always have a great feel and the courses are good. It’s a brilliant way to encourage people to get more active. Even mums can make a family day out of it and it’s something for them to aim for.”
To sign up for either of these Great Run events, visit http://www.greatrun.org/