Joanne Pavey

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Joanne Pavey
Jo Pavey, London Marathon 2011 (cropped).jpg
Pavey at the 2011 London Marathon
Medal record
Women's athletics
Competitor for  Great Britain
European Championships
Silver 2012 Helsinki 10,000 m
Commonwealth Games
Silver 2006 Melbourne 5000 m
IAAF World Cup
Bronze 2002 Madrid 5000 m
European Cross Country Championships
Bronze 2004 Heringsdorf Long race

Joanne ("Jo") Pavey (née Davis, born 20 September 1973) is a British long-distance runner who competes in track and road running events. She is a four-time Olympian, having represented Great Britain in every Olympic Games from 2000 to 2012.

Pavey was the 10,000 m silver medallist at the 2012 European Championships and the 5000 m silver medallist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. At global level, her best results include finishing fourth in the 10,000 m at the 2007 World Championships and fifth in the 5000 m at the 2004 Olympic Games.

In her earlier career she competed in the 1500 metres, 3000 metres and 5000 metres distances. From 2007 onwards, her focus turned to longer distances, ranging from 5000 m to the marathon. She has personal best times of 4:01.79 (1500 m), 8:31.27 (3000 m), 14:39.96 (5000 m), 30:53.20 (10,000 m) and 2:28:24 (marathon). She ranks second behind Paula Radcliffe on the UK all-time list at both 5000 m and 10,000 m.

She is coached by her husband and manager Gavin Pavey.


Early career[edit]

Born in Honiton, Devon, since 1987 Jo Pavey (née Davis) has been a member of Exeter Harriers Athletics Club in Devon, England. In March 1988 she started to be coached by the middle distance coach Tony White.

In July 1988 she won the English Schools 1500 m title in a new British record (under 15). Running for Devon, she finished eight places and 13 seconds ahead of Paula Radcliffe, running for Bedfordshire.[1] Pavey then won the national (AAA) 800 m and 1500 m titles, a feat she repeated in 1990.

A six time national champion in the women's 5000 m, she is currently second on the British all time list for 5000 m with a time of 14 minutes 39.96 seconds and the fastest at 3000m indoors.

Jo Pavey set the national record for 3000 m indoors in February 2004 in Birmingham, England and broke her own record in January 2007 in Stuttgart, Germany with a time of 8:31.50. The year of 2004 was a vintage year during which she won a European Bronze medal in the European Cross Country Championships, a fifth place over 5000 m in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and a national indoor record over 3000 m. In 2005 and 2006 she was Europe's fastest 5000 m runner. She has won the National Championships at 5000 m on six occasions (2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012) and in 2007 and 2008 she won both the 5000 m and the 10,000 m. In 2010 she added a third 10000m title. Her first UK national title came at 1500m in 1997 giving a fifteen-year span between her first senior title and her 5000m victory in 2012.

She has doubled up at various championships including a ninth place in the 5000 m following her fourth place in the 10,000 m in the 2007 World Championships in Athletics. However, in the 2004 Olympic Games she ran a 5000 m semifinal at midnight and then a late-night 5000 m final (fifth place) and followed this punishing schedule by attempting to run the 1500 m heats the following day. She did not progress beyond the 1500 m heats.

During 2003 she finished fourth in the 1500 m with a 4:01.79 clocking and third in the 3000 m with a time of 8:37.89 at the World Athletics Final in Monaco. In cup events she has won two European Cup titles and representing Europe she was third in the 2002 IAAF World Cup over 5000 m.

Track and road running[edit]

Most of her career has been as a track runner but since 2006 she has been making a gradual move to road running. After illness ruled her out of the 5000 m and led to a disappointing twelfth place in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, she immediately announced her intentions of continuing her career until 2012 and a potential move up in distance to the marathon. Her road running career major race wins have included the Great South Run (2006, 2012) and the Great Manchester Run (2007, 2008). She also finished 3rd (winner Gete Wami, Ethiopia) in the Great North Run (2008) in the closest finishes the event has seen with two seconds covering the first three athletes.

She finished fourth in the 10000 m at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics, behind Tirunesh Dibaba. She qualified to compete in the 5000 m and 10000 m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Due to illness she did not start in the 5000 m but finished twelfth in the 10000 m event, with a time of 31:12.30.[2]

At the beginning of the 2009 athletics season, Pavey revealed that she was pregnant and, as a result, she would miss both the 2009 London Marathon and 2009 World Championships.[3] In September 2009, Jo and her husband Gavin Pavey, had their first child, Jacob Matthew Pavey. He arrived nine days ahead of the original birth date, weighing 5 lb 9oz.[4]

She returned to competition in April 2010, finishing second to Freya Murray at the Great Ireland Run, but she was not disappointed and said she was very pleased with a strong return race after her year out.[5] Her marathon debut at the Virgin London Marathon in April led to a 2:28:23 Olympic A standard. She then ran in the ING New York City Marathon finishing in a time of 2:28:42, which given the hilly nature of the race represented a significant improvement on her London time. Pavey sustained stress fractures in both the summer of 2010 and 2011. She was not selected for the British marathon team after missing the 2012 London Marathon, but came second at the European Cup 10000m in June and her time of 31:32.22 minutes was within the qualifying standard.[6]

Pavey (second left) lining up for the 2012 Olympic 5000 metres race

Pavey also ran an Olympic Games A standard for 5000m at the British Milers Club meeting in Machester, England and a further 5000m A standard at Rome's Golden Gala Diamond League meeting. Just three days after competing in Rome she ran the 10000m A standard in the European Cup. After winning the UK Championships and Olympic Trials at 5000m she qualified for her fourth Olympic Games at the age of 38 years old. Pavey is the only female athlete in the modern era to have competed over 1500m, 5000m and 10000m at an Olympic Games and World Championships.

At the 2012 European Championships in Helsinki Pavey won a silver medal in the 10000m in a time of 31:49.03.

Pavey finished seventh in both the 5000m and 10000m at the London 2012 Olympic Games. She was the first European in both races with the top six places in the 5000m all going to Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes. Her time of 30:53.20 in the 10000m is not only the second fastest ever by a British athlete but also the second fastest time in history by an over 35 year old behind Kenya's Edith Masai. Pavey was Europe's fastest 10000m runner in 2012. Pavey won the 2012 Great South Run in a time of 53:01 to reclaim the title she won for the first time six years ago.[7]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  England
2006 Commonwealth Games Melbourne, Australia 2nd 5000 m
Representing  Great Britain
1997 World Championships Athens, Greece semi-final 1500 m 4:11.22
2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia 12th 5000m 14:58.27
2001 World Championships Edmonton, Canada 11th 5000 m 15:28.41
2002 World Cup Madrid, Spain 3rd 5000 m 15:20.10
2003 World Championships Paris, France 10th 1500 m 4:03.03
2004 Olympic Games Athens, Greece heats 1500 m 4:12.50
5th 5000 m 14:57.87
2007 World Championships Osaka, Japan 4th 10,000m 32:03.81
2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China 12th 10,000 m 31:12.30
2012 European Championships Helsinki, Finland 2nd 10,000 31:49.03
Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 7th 5000 m 15:12.72
7th 10,000 m 30:53.20

Other events[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Jo Pavey (née Davis) started running at the Kings School, Ottery St Mary, where teachers encouraged her to join an athletics club. She joined Exeter Harriers in 1987, where an early coach was Tony White. In 2000 she was coached by Christina Boxer, the 1982 Commonwealth Games 1500m champion.[8] Jo was first coached by her husband and manager Gavin Pavey in 1996/97 and he resumed the coaching role in 2001. He has coached her to finals at all the major championships. Jo made the final at every major outdoors championships between 2000 and 2008 before child birth in 2009.

Pavey studied physiotherapy at Bristol University,[9] graduating in 1995.

She married Gavin Pavey in 1995, whom she met at Exeter Harriers in 1988.[10] They have a son Jacob (born in 2009) and daughter Emily (born in 2013).[11]


External links[edit]