Stroud AC running star Tom Mortimer booked his place at the European Championships in Ireland next month by placing fourth at the GB team trial race in Liverpool, writes Chris Brown.
On a bitterly cold and windy day at Sefton Park, Mortimer,22, started slowly and was well down the field after the first mile, but steadily moved up to 20th by the 2nd mile, then double Olympic 5000m finalist Andy Butchart put his foot down and the Stroud runner was not close enough to pick this up and suddenly found himself 60m off the lead. However, he showed his confidence and reacted quickly to close the gap to the breakaway group of 6 runners.
At the 4-mile point, Jack Rowe who equalled Mo Farah road relay record at Sutton Park last month really put his foot down and Mortimer had to make a decision quickly to go with it or hang back and run for a qualification place. He stuck to his plan and hung back and let 3 runners pull clear. He then settled into the 2nd group, Cardiff’s Jake Smith pushed the pace over the last mile but Mortimer was looking comfortable and eased ahead in the last 100m to finish 4th in the senior men’s race and secure the last automatic GB selection place for the European championships and 1st U23 by a big margin.
Coach Chris Brown said: “The selectors have to decide now if the U23 team is strong enough without Tom or if he is needed to strengthen the senior men’s team.
“Tom showed he was confident of selection by being the only Brit last month who went to Ireland last month to run the course against the best runner in Ireland set up as preparation for the European champs, so he knows what is coming in a fortnight’s time.”