If ever there was an athlete whose mantra of ‘keep on keeping on’ paid off big time, it’s Jo Pavey. I remember watching her race many years ago, usually in Paula Radcliffe’s shadow, and although she was a recognised figure in British athletics, it was because of her ‘nice’ personality. But as far as big medals go, let’s be honest, she was considered more of an ‘also ran’.
She’ll turn 41 in September. She gave birth 11 months ago and was breatfeeding up to as recently as April of this year. And yet this week, she became the European 10,000m champion in Zurich. This was the culmination of years and years of consistent training and not letting anything push her off track. Not having young children or having to get back into shape after giving birth. She’s very real about it all too – she was picky about what time she could make the press conference afterwards as she wanted to make sure that she could put her kids to bed. I love her for that.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched this clip, but I fill up every time I watch it. This lady has never given up hope of winning a major title and the grit and determination shown in that last lap where she shakes off the French woman Clemence Calvin (who looks half Jo’s age!) is palpable.
“I’ve tried at this sport for so many years and for it to come now, being a 40-year-old with two young children, it seems quite funny really. But I’m glad I kept going.” And so are we Jo! You legend.
What I find SO likeable about Jo Pavey is her realness about it all. In her post race interview she was saying how the 10k race felt like such a long way and that maybe she should have stuck with 5. Well, at least she and I have got something in common 😉