It is proving to be an amazing year for 41-year old ExeterHarrier, Jo Pavey, with titles, awards and well deserved plaudits in abundance.With most athletes of her age either putting the spikes away or easing theirway into the more sedate surroundings of veteran competition, the mother-of-twoyoung children seems to be enjoying the ‘Autumn’ years by continuing to defywomen much younger than herself and with far less miles in the bank.

This summer proved particularly fruitful for the ‘Supermum’as she grabbed both the sporting and general news headlines, becoming aspectacular double medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and then theEuropean Championships in Zurich. From a performance point of view, many wouldargue that the European gold over 10,000m was the highlight, but given thestandard of the opposition in the Commonwealth 5,000m where she split theindomitable Kenyans to claim an amazing bronze medal, that deserves high praiseas well.

Athletics fans up and down the country are well aware ofPavey’s abilities and have followed her career for many years and hertransition through the distances from 1500m prospect through to the longerdistances, including noteworthy results in cross-country and half-marathonevents along the way. With that in mind and the admiration that she engendersin those who participate against her and watch her efforts on the tracks, roadsand fields of the globe she was rightly honoured by being voted as BritishAthletics Athlete of the Year earlier this week, no small achievement when youconsider the performances recorded by such as double Olympic champion Mo Farahand the rest.

Such as been the impact she has had this year, not justfrom her prowess on the track but also in managing to juggle motherhood with ahectic training schedule, she has also been shortlisted for tomorrow’s BBC SportsPersonality of the Year Award. The stellar list of names she will be ‘competing’against for the prestigious award places her in an elite group and although sheseems destined to come up short when the votes have been counted, just to beincluded in the shortlist represents a significant achievement in itself.

It islikely that the award will go to either Rory McIlroy after his two golfing majorwins and significant part in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory over the Americans, orfailing that to Formula One title winner Lewis Hamilton.

One thing is for surethough, Pavey will be as graceful in ‘defeat’ as she is in victory and if askedwill no doubt praise whoever wins with equal humility. She is a credit to hersport and her admirers will be looking forward to seeing if she can defy thecritics (and her ageing bones) by having a successful Olympics in Rio in 2016.
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