Vernon: Tough selection decisions can provide extra motivation

Andy Vernon took the UK Inter County title last Saturday
Andy Vernon took the UK Inter County title last Saturday
Tom Miller helped City of Portsmouth impress again. Picture: Paul Smith

City of Portsmouth performance fitting for big occasion

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AFTER winning the UK Inter County title Andy Vernon praised his Hampshire team-mate and closest rival Alex Teuten who finished runner-up.

Both athletes showed good form as they left the rest of the field trailing in Loughborough.

Experienced Great Britain international Vernon was comfortable in first place with a time of 37min 50sec for the 12k course.

Teuten was delighted to get the silver medal and make it a one, two for Hampshire with his time of 38.14.

But he was denied the chance to represent Great Britain in the World Cross Country Championships.

The selectors decided not to send a senior men’s team to the event in Uganda with criteria set saying senior athletes earned World Cross selection only if they are considered capable of finishing in the top 30 either this year or in future editions of the event, or where there is considered potential to win a team medal.

Vernon, from Fareham, had already ruled himself out of consideration for selection for the World Cross.

He has been impressed with Teuten’s results and called on the former City of Portsmouth athlete to let the disappointment spur him on.

He said: ‘I was having a quick chat with Alex on the start line and he said he wanted to finish in the top five.

‘I told him a few guys he thought might have been running weren’t, so maybe he could do even better than that and he came in second. It’s a good result.

‘When I went around corners I was looking back a bit just to see if the gap was growing or being maintained.

‘I kept seeing him in second place and I was thinking it would be good if he held the position.

‘He was second in the nationals as well so I realised he’s running very well, he’s come on quite a lot this year.

‘It’s a shame British Athletics haven’t selected him for the World Cross, although with the criteria they have I wasn’t expecting them to.

‘I think my best position there was 44th position.

‘In the past I’ve been the victim of some brutal selections.

‘You have got to accept it and get on with it. Try to prove them wrong.

‘That’s what I’ve tried to do. Use the anger to spur you on.’

Vernon comfortably secured the £2,000 prize money from the UK Cross Challenge with his win last Saturday.

He added: ‘I set myself up at the start of the year to win the overall series prize fund, I’ve lost some sponsors this year so I needed to make sure I was in position to win the money.

‘I could probably have finished eighth or ninth and still won the series.

‘We ran the first small lap as a group, then I decided to apply pressure, built an 80m lead and maintained it.’

Vernon is targeting a time of inside 62 minutes as he lines up for the Reading Half Marathon tomorrow.