European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen hopes that integrating the European 10,000m Cup on 19 May with the hugely popular Night of the 10,000m PBs will renew interest in the distance among European audiences.
“It’s a fact the decline in the interest in the 10,000m has gone down lately. We’re not really happy about that so we heard about the Night of the 10,000m PBs and we wanted to support that and help that and I thought it could be a really good idea to bring over the European 10,000m Cup into that race. Luckily we talked with the organisers and they agreed. I think this will be valuable for both of us,” said Hansen.
The Night of the 10,000m PBs was held for the first time at the Parliament Hill Athletics Track in Highgate, north London in 2013 and has become one of the most popular fixtures on the British calendar with fans and athletes alike. The event staged both the 2016 Olympic Trials and the 2017 World Championships Trials.
The motivation for staging the event was to improve the fledgling standards in 10,000m running in Great Britain but the Night of the 10,000m PBs also puts spectators at the heart of the action. Fans are able to follow proceedings from lane three (the #lane3beerandcheer is one of the standout aspects of the event) and the inclusion of a pedestrian footbridge to this year’s event will give fans a unique vantage point to watch Europe’s best athletes chase titles and qualifying times for the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.
— Night Of 10k PB's (@NightOf10kPBs) May 2, 2018
“We are into innovation,” said Hansen on why the Night of the 10,000m PBs was the perfect fit. “I was elected on my programme Leading Change. I wanted to change things; make it more fun, make it more attractive - first of all for the athletes. We can sit here and talk but that doesn’t fill the stadium. But also for the spectators, we have to make them want to come back. I think, if you have those kind of festivities around it like you have here, people want to come back because they know they are seeing a good product.”
Ahead of the event, President Hansen spoke to the organisers about why he wanted to incorporate the European 10,000m Cup with the Night of the 10,000m PBs, how the collaboration will be mutually beneficial and what makes a great 10,000m race.