ANDY VERNON has set his sights on continuing his emergence and getting among the medals in the running big time.
And that means making an impression at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships in a big upcoming year.
The 27-year-old is enjoying a rich vein of form as he builds up to an important period in his career.
Vernon recently set a new European best mark over four miles in Holland.
And he followed that up with a hugely-impressive display to finish fourth in the Bupa Great South Run.
The man who came through the ranks at Stubbington Green Runners, and still runs second claim for the club, is now after medals in the biggest events.
That means Glasgow next year and the Europeans in Zurich for the international, who has already finished 10th over 10,000m in Delhi.
Vernon said: ‘I haven’t really discussed my plans with my coach yet but there are European Championships next year just after the Commonwealth Games.
‘I would probably rather do the 5,000m in the Commonwealth Games for two reasons.
‘The 5,000m is an easier event to medal in at the Commonwealth Games compared to the 10,000m.
‘It also doesn’t take as long to recover from. If you do a 10,000m it actually takes a couple of weeks to properly recover and then that might impact on what I do at the Europeans. So if I do the 5,000m first then I don’t need so much recovery time in between.
‘Then at the European Championships a month later, on the flip side, I think the 10,000m is much easier to medal in, given the competition. I’d rather do the 5,000m at the Commonwealths and then the 10,000m at Europeans.
‘I’m not assured of a place. The trials aren’t until June, so you’ve just got to get on with your winter training and build a good base and then come out in the summer and hopefully you have hit those qualifying times.
‘Its a two-part qualification, you have got to hit certain standards and then you go to the trial and you’ve got to finish in the top three which is discretionary – top two are an automatic selection – provided you’ve hit the standard.
Being one of Britain’s exciting distance prospects, does bring it’s own challenges for Vernon – none greater than a certain Mo Farah.
The Pompey fan enjoys the challenge of going up against the double Olympic champion, though.
For now, Vernon is focusing on the cross-country season – and making the European event at the end of the year, after running the fastest leg at English Cross Country Relays in Mansfield last week.
He said: ‘It’s good to be running with and competing against Mo, but then its almost like: ‘Oh, that’s a guaranteed place gone!’
‘You’ve got to give a place to Mo and then the rest of us are almost competing for the remaining two places. In late November, there is the cross country trial for the European Cross Country Championships. So hopefully I’ll be in the team for that.’