Andy Vernon eyes Gothenburg target as form improves

Antrim is next step for former inter-counties champion but the indoors beckon

Andy Vernon (Mark Shearman)

Andy Vernon will continue his cross-country season in Antrim this weekend, but the former European under-23 silver medallist is set to try for the tough European Indoor 3000m standard rather than aim for the World Cross.

Vernon, who was top Brit in the international team race in Edinburgh last Saturday, is on his way back to full fitness but believes the 7:50 standard for Gothenburg is within his grasp.

European Athletics has not laid down standards for its championships, but UKA have published minimum levels for selection and these are in many cases much tougher than for the last event in Paris two years ago. For the 3000m it was 7:54, but this year it has been set to a mark achieved by four Brits last year.

But Vernon, who will miss the World Cross because he intends to train at altitude in the United States where he will begin his outdoor season in Stanford, said: “It’s tough, but I reckon I can run it. I ran 7:49 two years ago.”

Before that, he will be among the forerunners at the third leg of the UK Cross Challenge. Also present will be Frank Tickner and a quartet of useful Kenyans including David Bett, the 2010 world junior 5000m champion.

On the women’s side, Ireland’s Fionnuala Britton takes on Britain’s Jess Coulson, while Steph Twell, Ireland’s Linda Byrne and Kenya’s Magdalene and Eunice Kales should also feature.

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