European under-23 cross-country champion plans to focus on track 5000m and 10,000m this year as well as work towards a half marathon

Rhona Auckland is to make a step up in distance as she races over 10 miles at the Morrisons Great Edinburgh Run on April 19.

The 21-year-old followed up her under-23 victory at the European Cross Country Championships in Bulgaria in December with a 19th place finish as the third European athlete at the IAAF World Cross in China last month.

She’ll now look to transfer her form from the country to the road in Scotland as the University of Edinburgh student competes over a distance further than 10km for the first time.

“It’s part of my preparation for the summer,” she said. “I’m hoping to focus on 5000m and 10,000m on the track but I’m also working towards running a half marathon on the road.

“That’s something I’d like to do at some stage, so ten miles will be a good stepping stone towards that.

“I do love running in Edinburgh so it’s an ideal race for me. I’ve been told that the course is hilly and not to worry too much about the time but I’m really looking forward to it.”

The World Cross has been Auckland’s sole race this year so far because of Achilles problems but she is pleased with her recovery so far.

“Things are definitely improving,” she said. “I’m still doing a bit of rehab to get through it all, but things are on the up. So keep positive and hopefully I’ll keep going in the right direction.”

Auckland will be joined in Edinburgh by fellow Scottish athlete Andrew Lemoncello who is based in Arizona in the US and the medical sciences student is also heading Stateside.

“I’m going to Albuquerque in New Mexico to do a Masters,” she said. “I’ve got a running scholarship at university over there.”