Vernon Leads British Cross Challenge in Antrim International Cross Country
05 January 2017
GB Olympian Andy Vernon will be making a welcome return to the Greenmount International Cross Country in 10 days’ time. The prolific Aldershot runner who will be 31 on Saturday is one of the UK's most consistently successful runners in both track and cross country.
The 8200m event supported by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is now in its amazing 40th year and is one of 12 IAAF World Cross Country permits. The meeting continues to attract top athletes from Africa and Europe.
A month ago Aldershot's Vernon was a member of the winning GB team at the European Championships in Italy. His solid 5th place behind team mates Callum Hawkins and Andrew Butchart ensured victory over Spain. Andy was also an individual bronze medallist in these Championships in 2013.
His credentials are not confined to cross country. Vernon competed in the Rio Olympics last summer over 10,000 metres. He is a former European silver medallist over this distance from 2014.
Racing over what is expected to be a fast course at Greenmount will be familiar territory for Andy. Over the years he has competed on 4 occasions his most successful being in 2010 when he was runner up to Kenya's Mike Kegen.
Also competing will be fellow GB Olympian Derek Hawkins who is the older brother of Callum. The 27 year old ran under 2hrs 13 mins in the London Marathon last April but then struggled with an injury problem which affected his performance in Rio.
Africans have dominated Greenmount in recent years and next week is likely to once again reflect this with such quality runners as Morroco's Soufiane El Bakkali in the line-up. The 21 year old finished 3rd in his National Championships 2 weeks ago. However in Rio last summer he unexpectedly finished just outside the steeplechase medals when snatching 4th place in a PB of 8 mins 14 secs.
Already announced for Greenmount is former double European champion Fionnuala McCormack who has won twice at Antrim and could well make it a hat trick in view of her recent impressive form.
Online Entry is now available until 12 noon HERE