Jo Pavey lost her European crown in the 10,000m but produced a season’s best in Amsterdam as she came fifth.
The 42-year-old finished in 31:34.61, well clear of the time that earned her victory in Zurich two years ago, with Turkey’s Yasmin Can claiming the first gold medal of the European Athletics Championships.
Fellow Brit Jess Andrews came home in seventh in a personal best of 31:38.02 on her senior international debut, while Pavey was delighted with her efforts on the night.
Pavey said: “I just gave it my all today. I feel so honoured to be running at these Championships and representing the British team once again, it has been a great opportunity. I have been struggling with form and fitness but each week I have been getting that little bit quicker. All I could do was run my absolute hardest.
“We’ve had so many great performances from the girls this year, Jess (Andrews) and Beth (Potter) ran superbly to secure their spots in Rio and the 5000m girls have been very strong as well. I’ve just been focusing on the fact that I had an opportunity to run at these championships, I’m pleased with the time and we’ll have to see about selection for Rio.
“I feel like I have made progress. Last time around at these championships I had fond memories of winning but I wasn’t in that kind of shape today. I’m pleased to have made progress and I really enjoyed it.”
Elsewhere in the evening session Dina Asher-Smith powered into the final of the 200m with the joint fastest qualifying time of 22.57, level with Ivet Lalova-Collio.
She will be joined by Jodie Williams, who crept through with the eighth-fastest time of 23.14.
And British champion Asher-Smith took a lot of confidence from the performance ahead of Thursday’s final.
She said: “I am very happy with that, I didn’t expect to run so quickly in the semi-final. It was a nice track and a really good run for me, so I’m excited for the final.”
Rob Mullett finished fourth in the qualifying rounds of the 3000m steeplechase to book his place in the final, and Jenny Meadows and Alison Leonard did likewise in the 800m.
However there was disappointment for Adelle Tracey who just missed out in the same event.
Ashley Bryant will head into day two of the decathlon in 12th on 4,009 points while Jazmin Sawyers reached her first major senior final in the long jump, but Lorraine Ugen could not match her while Shara Proctor pulled out with soreness in her knee.
Finally Rachel Wallader booked her place in the final of the women’s shot put, but Luke Cutts missed out in the pole vault.
In the morning session defending champion Greg Rutherford made his way through to the final of the long jump with a leap of 7.93m to qualify in eighth.
On Thursday the Olympic, World and Commonwealth champion will look to retain the crown he claimed two years ago and felt things were starting click.
Rutherford said: “It was very rusty but I felt by my last jump, I was getting things together. I knew 7.93m would be safe but I needed that last jump to get me going.
“The body feels so much better for taking three jumps. When you haven’t been in competition for a month, you have to just try and get it out of the way with those first jumps.”
Elsewhere 400m champion Martyn Rooney eased into the semi-finals in a time of 46.57, cruising to victory in his heat.
That was enough to see him comfortably through, along with fellow Brit Jarryd Dunn, who won his heat in 46.05.
Rooney said: “I got out nicely and probably relaxed a bit too much. It was quite windy down the back straight but I basically ran it like I would in Loughborough.
“I wanted to be running 45 low so I am a bit disappointed but I’ll have to do that tomorrow. I want to win every race, that’s the target.”
In the women’s equivalent Christine Ohuruogu cruised into the semi-finals in a time of 52.69 and will join Anyika Onuora at that stage with her fellow Brit having received a bye.
Richard Kilty and Ojie Edoburun both made it through to the semi-finals of the 100m, while Jade Lally and Sophie Hitchon did the same in the discus and hammer respectively.
However there was disappointment for Isobel Pooley in the high jump, and Serita Solomon and Lucy Hatton in the 100m hurdles as they all failed to progress.