In a world where once-extraordinary athletic feats barely raise an eyebrow, the European athletics championships are a kind of time warp, where old certainties still hold sway. Britain is a distance running powerhouse! 1 and 2 in the men’s 10,000m for Mo Farah and Chris Thompson tonight!
Spare a thought though for Andy Vernon, watching from his sofa. He ran 28:11 for 10,000m this year, making him Europe’s fourth fastest (and 6th fastest Briton since 2000). He’s run faster this year than the Italian bronze medallist Daniele Meucci. He’s not ill or injured - he just wasn’t selected.
Any other European country would have selected him but for some reason the UK requires the same qualifying standard as for a global championships, so only Thompson and Farah could run. If a medal in Barcelona isn’t worth something in its own right (rather than being an indicator of ability in a global championships) then why do we send a team at all?
Anyway, loads more distance action this week: Meadows and Rimmer in the 800s, Baddeley and Dobriskey in the 1500s, Thompson and Farah going again in the men’s 5,000.
Tomorrow Michael Rimmer starts his campaign - his 1:44.49 PB making him the fastest in the field.