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Supergran chases world record at Manchester

by Editor
Friday 10th April 2015

Race feature: Jo Pavey will not be the only trailblazing Supermum chasing a place in the world record books in the Morrisons Great Manchester Run on Sunday 10 May

While the 41-year-old European 10,000m champion will line up with the Over 40s 10km road race world record in her sights, Angi Copson will be gunning for the Over 65s world record.

Angi Copson will be gunning for the Over 65s world record at the Morrisons Great Manchester Run on Sunday 10 May

Angi Copson will be gunning for the Over 65s world record

Copson is not just a Supermum but also a Supergran – a 67-year-old mother of two and grandmother of three from the Northamptonshire village of Spratton, a sporting hotbed that has also been home to Ben Cohen and Matt Dawson, members of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup winning side, and the former England cricket fast bowler Devon Malcolm.

In fact, Copson will have turned 68 by the time she joins Pavey and the rest of the 40,000 field for the 13th edition of the Morrisons Great Manchester Run, one of the IAAF’s elite Gold Label road races. Her birthday falls on 20 April.

While Pavey will be chasing 32 minutes 25 seconds, the Over 40s 10km world record on the road, set by Britain’s Priscilla Welch in Phoenix, Arizona, in March 1985, Copson will be attempting to better the Over 65s world record figures of 41 minutes 58 seconds, achieved by Emmi Luthi of Switzerland in 2009.

Both Pavey and Copson are already age-group world record holders at 10,000m on the track. Pavey set an Over 35 best when she finished seventh in the 2012 Olympic final in 30 minutes 53.20 seconds. Copson clocked an Over 65 record time of 41 minutes 40.27 seconds in Oxford in 2012.

“I’m so excited about it all – to get to take part in the Morrisons Great Manchester Run, to be going for the world record, and to be running in the same race as Jo Pavey,” said Copson, who returned home from last week’s European Indoor Masters Championships at Torun in Poland, with a gold from the cross country and a silver from the 1500m.

“Jo’s my inspiration. I’ll have 27 years on her, unfortunately, by the day of the race but it’s fantastic that she’s going to be there on the elite start line in Manchester and I’ll be with the club runners behind her.

“I’ve never done the Great Manchester Run before and it’s just so exciting to be part of the race and the whole weekend, with Jessica Ennis-Hill competing in the Great City Games in the centre of Manchester the day before.”

Pavey and Ennis-Hill, who became a mother last year with the birth of son Reggie, have both had their share of acclaim and recognition – Pavey for her brilliant Commonwealth 5,000m bronze medal and stunning European 10,000m victory last summer and Ennis-Hill for her unforgettable Olympic heptathlon triumph on Super Saturday at London 2012.

Copson, however, has been an athletic inspiration in her own right.

She only took up running at the age of 59 to raise money for heart research after her husband needed cardiac treatment in 2006. She was two days past her 60th birthday when she ran in the London Marathon in April 2007, breezing round the 26.2 mile course in 3 hours 57 minutes 15 seconds.

The following year, having joined Northampton and Rugby Athletics Club, Copson improved to 3 hours 16 minutes 54 seconds. Then, in the 2009 London Marathon, she ran 3 hours 14 minutes 51 seconds, aged 62.

At 66, she clocked an incredible 3 hours 17 minutes 10 seconds in the Berlin Marathon. That was two years ago and her last 26.2 mile race. She intends to return to the marathon in Seville in February next year.

“I’m not sure how many records I’ve broken or still hold,” said Copson. “I leave all that to my coach, Ian Wilson, to sort out. I’m not in it for recognition. I’m in it to enjoy it and to keep fit and healthy. I couldn’t care less really whether I’m first, second or third. I just get a thrill out of running. I used to ride horses but I’ve never done an competitive sport. I possibly get it from my grandfather. I found an old photo of him standing by a table full of trophies wearing the old spikes they used to use on the cinder tracks and a pair of long shorts.

“There’s no way I can look into it because it was in the 1800s but he was obviously a runner. He was my Grandpa Wootton but I’m afraid I don’t know anything about him. I hardly knew him. So I may have got the love of running from him. I don’t know. But I do certainly enjoy it. I love the friendliness of the athletes. They’re all such genuine people. They all sort of look out for you.”

Come 10 May, Copson will be looking out for the clock as she approaches the finish line on Deansgate. “I think 41 minutes 58 seconds id do-able,” she said. “Last year I ran 42 minutes 21 seconds for 10km in Kings Lynn but I hadn’t really trained. I’m getting a bit of training this year and my coach thinks I could do it – as long as it’s not too windy. You never know. It’s on the day – how you feel. Anyway, I shall have a good go for it.”

Should Copson miss the Over 65 world record, there is always the Age 68 record. That stands at 45 minutes 48.5 seconds to Bibbi Lind of Sweden.

Copson already holds single age records for 10km on the road for a 62-year-old ( 39 minutes 34 seconds), a 64-year-old (38 minutes 37 seconds) and a 67-year-old (42 minutes 21 seconds.

Jo Pavey holds the age 41 record: 32 minutes 47 seconds.

Manchester has been warned: the trailblazing Supermum and Supergran are both on their way.

To enter the Morrisons Great Manchester Run, visit www.greatrun.org/great-manchester-run 


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