Patrick Dever on a “bittersweet” 10,000m breakthrough – AW

    The British distance runner might have put himself as No.2 on the UK all-time rankings but he is determined to go better

    A breakthrough 10,000m race at The Ten for Patrick Dever landed him the second spot on the UK men’s all-time rankings but it still didn’t quite meet his expectations. Despite clocking a faster time than Mo Farah did in the London 2012 Olympics, Dever was still eight seconds away from the Olympic qualifying mark – a “bittersweet” moment.

    The 27-year-old crossed the line with a big PB of 27:08.81 in San Juan Capistrano, California, last month, finishing outside the Olympic qualifier of 27:00.00.

    During his teenage years, Dever described himself as a bit of a “nerd” and would study the lap splits of 10,000m athletes such as Farah. Now, Farah is the only British man who has achieved a faster time with the British record of 26:46.57.

    “This is something I never imagined I would do,” says Dever, “and to be second to Sir Mo feels pretty special.”

    He adds: “I can’t be disappointed with a PB and being second on the British all-time list but I wanted to qualify for the Olympics in this race so bittersweet is the perfect word.

    “I know I did some things in that race that if I go back now I would change. I would try and run smarter because I feel like those eight seconds when you spread it out over the course of 10,000m is just a few minor tweaks.”

    Charles Hicks, Jack Rowe, Patrick Dever (David Hicks)

    The Preston Harrier’s performance had been a fitting reminder that there is no such thing as a perfect race. However, just a few weeks prior, he experienced a near-perfect race in Boston, achieving the 5000m Olympic qualifying standard with an impressive 13:04.05.

    Though Dever favours the 10,000m, the University of Tulsa student is determined to run in the Paris Olympics, whether in the 5000m or 10,000m race.

    Patrick Dever leads Jack Rowe (David Hicks)

    His impressive start to the year sets a promising tone in getting there —a goal he never imagined he’d be aiming for during his days on the starting line of primary school cross-country races.

    Following his first ever cross-country race, Dever was encouraged to join Preston Harriers, his local athletics club. It was there that he proceeded to break several records.

    There is still one middle-distance club record Dever is yet to break – the 3000m, which was set by John Nuttall in 1996. Sadly, Nuttall passed away from a heart attack last November, leaving behind a great legacy, as noted by Dever.

    “I’ve been around people who knew John and seeing his club records at the time was a bit daunting, thinking ‘how do these people run these times?’” he says.

    “I remember a few years ago I ran 7:37.39 [the British Grand Prix 2021] and I thought for sure that is going to be a club record. I went back and saw John had run 7:36.40 which was crazy back then and incredibly impressive. It was really sad to news to hear of him passing but what a great legacy to leave.”

    Despite the rapid speed of his success, Dever’s journey towards the track season has been anything but easy.

    The Puma athlete describes last year as a “mental challenge” after suffering with a femoral neck stress reaction, taking his 2023 track season away from him.

    Initially misdiagnosed as a muscle strain in his quad, the injury took a lot more time to recover than it should, causing a lot more stress mentally than physically.

    “Mentally, it was a real challenge for me. I am doing this as my full-time job and when you can’t do your job it just adds a lot more stress mentally because I want to be competing.

    “That period was really difficult for me. Something wasn’t working like it should have done, so it was putting all my energy into trying to fix the issue I was having as well as trying to bullet-proof myself.

    “Puma have always been hugely supportive, even when I was injured and I didn’t have a track season at all they still supported me.”

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    Back on track, Dever’s next step is get that Olympic qualifying time at the Night of the 10,000m PBs on May 18, and he will also run the 5000m at the British Olympic trials.

    He says: “Being a distance runner puts a big emphasis on the training to get me ready for those two races. Whether I have the opportunity to race in between those or before those will depend on if the competitions can fit around that and my altitude training.

    “My main goal is to get to the Olympics and to be competitive there.”

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