Record entries for Vitality Westminster Mile and Vitality London 10,000
24 May 2017, 10:39 a.m.
More than 8,500 people have signed up for the Vitality Westminster Mile, the most iconic mile race in the world which starts on The Mall and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace.
Among the entrants are Olympic heroes both old and young, London 2017 World Athletics Championships hopefuls, a couple trying to set a new Guinness World Record, hundreds of children from the inspiring The Daily Mile programme and thousands of others coming to enjoy a day of running and fun-filled activities in the Vitality Wellness Festival in neighbouring Green Park.
Sebastian Coe, the double Olympic champion and former world record holder for the mile, is the star name in the Olympians Mile (start time 13:25) where he will join close to 100 other members of the British Olympians’ Association.
Spectators will be intrigued to find out if Coe can beat his old adversary Steve Cram’s winning time at the inaugural Olympians Mile in 2015 when the Jarrow Arrow ran 5:40.
Coe is not the only Olympic star among the line-up this year. Ice queen Jayne Torvill will be on the Start Line alongside Jo Pavey, who has run for Britain at a record five Olympic Games; rowing gold medallist Greg Searle; and a trio of hockey gold medallists from the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Rob Clift, Richard Leman and Steve Batchelor.
The oldest Olympian seeking to make the mile journey from The Mall to Spur Road will be 88-year-old Eric Shirley, who ran the 3000m steeplechase final at the 1956 Melbourne Games alongside Chris Brasher and John Disley who went on to found the London Marathon.
One of the youngest Olympians will be Goldie Sayers, the recently retired javelin thrower who broke the British record in 2007 and won a bronze medal at the Beijing Games in 2008.
There are a handful of Olympians who are still competing at the sharp end of athletics who will be racing in the elite British Championships One Mile Road Races, including Steph Twell and Hannah England in the women’s race plus Ross Murray in the men’s race. The defending champions Nick Goolab and Sarah McDonald are also returning to defend their titles, with the men’s race at 14:10 and the women’s race at 14:20. This will be followed by British Championship races for boys and girls from under-13 up to under-20.
For the first time this year there will be The Daily Mile London Wave. The Daily Mile is a scheme devised by Elaine Wyllie, a former primary school headteacher in Scotland, who encouraged children to take part in fifteen minutes exercise every day in their school clothes and ordinary shoes. The scheme has now been rolled out across the country including in schools across every London borough. Representatives from every London borough will be running in The Daily Mile London wave while other children will take part in the Westminster Schools wave or one of the nine family waves during the day.
The final family wave will also see the return of the hugely popular Mascot Race. QPR’s Jude the Cat will be back to defend his title alongside his partner in crime Spark the Tiger. The duo will face tough competition this year though from the likes of London World Championships 2017 mascots Hero the Hedgehog and Whizzbee the Bee. In total, 14 mascots will be vying for the £1,000 first prize to be given to the organisation’s foundation or charity of their choice.
There will be a Guinness World Records attempt in the parkrun wave at 12:30 with Mike Krotosky, 29, and Ellie Awford, 27, trying to set a new record for the fastest mile run while holding hands.
In total, there will be 36 mile races, starting at 09:30 and finishing at 15:35. Running alongside the racing is the Vitality Wellness Festival in Green Park which will feature a series of themed zones including a Sports Zone, Kids Zone, Fitness Studio and Vitality Hub. The Sports Zone will include a giant treadmill Tumbleator, coaching clinics from Arsenal Soccer Schools, coaching from England Netball and tips from Middlesex County Cricket Club.
The next day (Monday 29 May), will see Andy Butchart return to the streets of London to lead the field in the Vitality London 10000 (start time 10:00).
Butchart, who finished sixth in the Olympic 5,000m final last summer, won the event last year in a blistering 28:28 and will be hoping for another win on the iconic course which passes many of London’s most famous sights including Admiralty Arch, Nelson’s Column, St Paul’s Cathedral, Mansion House, the Bank of England, the Old Bailey, Somerset House, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
Last year’s women’s winner Lily Partridge also returns and she will have to be in top form to see off a high-class field that includes Charlotte Purdue and Tracy Barlow – who will both be running the marathon at the World Championships in London this summer after qualifying at the Virgin Money London Marathon – five-time Olympian Jo Pavey, and Sonia Samuels who represented Great Britain in the marathon at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
To keep the runners motivated, there will be 10 bands playing along the course and the second day of the free Vitality Wellness Festival in Green Park.