Vernon is right on track after double delight

Andy Vernon. Picture: Malcolm Wells
Andy Vernon. Picture: Malcolm Wells
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Andy Vernon is a few quick steps closer to his target of securing a major championship medal on the track after two sensational performances.

The former Stubbington Green runner secured qualification for the 10,000m at the European Championships, as he won the British Championships in a time of 28mins 26.6secs.

That came after he shattered his 5,000m personal best with a 13.11 clocking in the USA – a performance that propelled him to sixth spot in the British all-time rankings.

Crucially, it was also a B-standard time that should see him selected to represent England in the Commonwealth Games at 5,000m.

Vernon, 28, is targeting the shorter of the two events this summer.

He feels that his current form could put him in contention to medal – with the Europeans presenting possibly the best opportunity.

Vernon said: ‘I will definitely aim to medal at the Europeans.

‘Certainly there is chance for me to medal there, at whichever event I do.

‘Before then, I have to stay healthy and stay fit.

‘The Commonwealth Games are different because you have Kenya and Uganda there.

‘My training group is predominantly Australian athletes.

‘There are two guys who are very good, who should be in their team for the Commonwealths as well.

‘They have both got best times of one to two seconds quicker than mine.

‘For the European Champs, I had my eye set on the 10k there at first but I might switch and do the 5k.

‘At the moment, I am in better shorter-distance shape than long-distance shape.

‘I have a couple of 3ks lined up. If I am quick in those, then it might be better just to stick to 5ks.

‘For the Commonwealths there is no actual trial for the 5k – I just need them to select me.

‘The A standard is eight and a half seconds quicker than I ran.

‘It’s a very, very tough A standard. It would put you third on the all-time list in Great Britain.

‘I hope they will select me on the B standard.’

Vernon, who now runs for Aldershot, Farnham & District, beat his club-mate Chris Thompson into second spot, with a strong display of front-running to win the British 10,000m title on Saturday.

He knew it was important to get the qualifying standard for the Europeans, as well as the top-two place.

Vernon also has to consider whether to compete later this summer in the British trials for the European 5,000m places.

If he finishes in the top two in the trials he will be guaranteed a spot.

He already has the B standard qualifying time after his stunning performance at the Payton Jordan Invitational in the USA.

His time of 13.11.5 ranked him alongside European and Commonwealth bronze medallist Tim Hutchings as the sixth-fastest Brit in history.

Vernon said: ‘There is still the trial to come for 5k. If I don’t do the trial, I might have to do the 10k.

‘I have run the B-standard qualifying time for 5k.

‘The top two in the trials get automatic selection and there is a discretionary place.

‘But for that place, there could be Mo Farah to contend with.

‘He might want the third spot as well, so it would be better for me to do the trials and confirm my place.’