ANDY VERNON is looking to add to his major championship medal collection after being selected to run for England in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
He will compete in the 10,000m during the event which will take place from April 4 to April 15 on the Gold Coast, in Australia.
Team England were only allowed to select 75 athletes in total and Vernon, from Fareham, is the one male representative in the long distance events on the track.
He finished sixth in the 5,000m at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 and then achieved a silver and a bronze medal in the European Championships later that year.
The 10,000m will be among the tougher races in the Commonwealth Games with Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda among the countries who will be represented.
But Vernon will be ready for the challenge and believes he can get among the medals.
It will be a proud moment when he lines up again to compete especially after some selection disappointments in recent years.
He said: ‘Whether it’s England or Great Britain it is always an honour to wear the vest and I’m looking forward to it.
‘I have a medal target. I finished sixth last time after a horrible build up into it when I couldn’t run with a hamstring injury.
‘That was in the 5k and I’m doing the 10k this time. I put myself forward for the 10k and I feel it gives me my best chance of a medal.
‘I’m pleased to be selected. I have a few goals and the Commonwealth Games was in the back of my mind.
‘It means my plans can go ahead now. I don’t have to change anything.
‘The more time you have to prepare the better.
‘It’s a long way to travel and it’s also just about the biggest time zone difference so you need to prepare well.
‘When you know you are competing in a major championships you usually have to factor in the races leading into it for about four to six weeks.
‘Now I know I am selected I can do that for three or four months.’
Vernon has been out injured with a stress response to the femur recently and was disappointed to miss the Great South Run in his home city on Sunday.
But he is working his way back to full training and is confident he will be ready to race again in January.
He added: ‘I’m getting over an injury at the moment.
‘I have a few months now to get back to full fitness and it is more than enough. By January I should be fit.
‘My injury was hard to diagnose but I had a scan and caught it quite early.
‘It has ruled me out of the Great Scottish Run, the Great North Run and the Great South Run which I was supposed to be doing so it has been costly.’