HE MAY have lost his Vitality London 10,000 title on Monday but Andy Vernon insisted his performance gives him reason for optimism heading into the Olympic trials.
Last year’s champion Vernon, from Fareham, was comfortably beaten into second place by in-form Scotsman and fellow Rio hopeful Andrew Butchart in the English capital, with the latter clocking a personal best of 28min 28 sec.
Aldershot, Farnham & District runner Vernon, meanwhile, came home over 30 seconds slower in 29.04 in the event that acts as the British 10km Championships.
It was another case of being second-best in recent weeks, after the 30-year-old – who suffered with persistent injuries through the winter – was third at the national 10,000m trials.
The result in Highgate almost certainly dashed any hopes of qualifying for the 10,000m in Rio.
However, Vernon still has the 5,000m in his sights, with the Olympic trials taking place at the British Athletics Championships from June 24-26.
‘I am actually pretty pleased with that,’ said Vernon, after his second-place finish in London.
‘I ran on the track last week and did 28.48 so I was only 16s slower than that and supposedly the roads are a lot slower.
‘I think I ran better than I did 10 days ago, which is good and shows I am improving I suppose.
‘I can’t do anything about the form that Andrew Butchart showed up in – he is in phenomenal form and he ran away with it and it was a very good race from him.
‘I was thinking I could go with it and hang on but I didn’t want to get to the point where I got to 7K and the wheels fall off.
‘I just wanted to run hard for 10K and I got more out of a solid run at a pace I was comfortable at instead of trying to hang on and then almost stop.
‘I’ve got the 5K in about four weeks and I just need to try to get into as good a shape as I can.
‘I have still got three-and-a-half weeks of hard training to do so I have to get into good shape for that and try and secure a top-two place in that race.’
n The Vitality London 10,000 takes place on an iconic course past some of London’s most iconic landmarks and is for everyone from fun runners to club and elite athletes with more than 10,000 runners taking to the streets of the capital. For more information, visit www.vitalitylondon10000.co.uk