Belfast Telegraph

Andy Vernon targets Greenmount title

By Brian Hill

Great Britain international Andy Vernon, who captured bronze in the European Cross Country Championships on Sunday, will compete in the Greenmount International in Antrim on January 4.

The 27-year-old, who has won four national titles, ran his best race ever on Sunday in Belgrade when moving from a top six spot to snatch bronze on the line behind winner Alemayehu Bezabeh of Spain.

The Aldershot runner, a European medallist at Junior and U23 level, said: "It felt good to win a medal. I was at my limit with four laps to go but I ploughed on and made a big effort on the last lap.

"The Belgian (Jeroen) D'Hoedt came past me near the end but I sprinted hard and got him on the line."

This performance, plus his earlier win in the British Trials in Liverpool, makes Vernon the top UK cross country athlete by some margin.

The flat, fast terrain at Greenmount will suit Vernon who has enjoyed considerable success here in the past.

In 2010 he was runner-up to Mike Kegan of Kenya while in January this year he was a gutsy third behind winner Thomas Ayeko of Uganda and runner-up David Bett of Kenya.

Also racing at Greenmount will be Irish national champion Paul Pollock of Annadale.

The 27-year-old has classy credentials having already achieved the Commonwealth Games qualification time for the marathon.

Pollock's most notable achievement was as second European finisher in last summer's World Marathon in Moscow.

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