Andy Vernon toasted his European Championship 10,000m silver salvo and admitted: It’s made all the hard work worthwhile.
The former Stubbington Green runner produced a season’s best display of 28min 08.66sec to pass Turkish athlete Ali Kaya on the line for a second place finish, as fellow Briton Mo Farah (28.08.11) earned gold in Zurich last night.
‘It means a lot to me,’ said 28-year-old Vernon.
‘It’s been months and years of hard dedication.
‘I can’t say I don’t love it (all the hard work and training), it’s a great job to have.
‘But you have to get up on those cold January mornings when it’s raining and it’s two degrees outside, and you have got to go out and do your session.
‘It takes a lot of motivation to do that day in, day out.
‘But on occasions like this, when it pays off, it’s absolutely brilliant.’
Vernon, The News Sports Awards 2013 sportsman of the year, admitted last night’s final was ‘a bit of a lottery’.
But the current British 10,000m champion, who finished sixth in the 5,000m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last month, maintained the belief he could come home with a medal.
‘When you come to these races, it’s a bit of a lottery,’ said Vernon.
‘You have an idea what times people have run during the season, but you never really know where they are going to go.
‘You’ve got to keep your fingers crossed, count you’re lucky balls and hopefully come out with something and come out on top.
‘I didn’t come out on top last night, but I came out second!’
Vernon, whose season has been hampered by injury, added he didn’t know whether he had the legs to mount a serious challenge going into the race.
However, he was pleasantly surprised to keep pace with double Olympic champion Farah and see off the best that Europe had to offer.
‘I thought I might get to 8K and fall apart because the endurance isn’t there,’ said Vernon.
‘But I dug deep and the whole time from about 3K out when we broke into a group of about six or seven, I thought: “I’ve got to move forward with these guys.”
‘And I managed to beat all but one!’
– JEFF MARSHMAN