Athletics: Brown's inspiration

Jon Brown and Paula Radcliffe may be absent from today's European cross-country championship in Portugal, but the team manager David Clarke hopes their past exploits can inspire his squad to heroics in both the individual and team events.

Last year, Brown took the field by surprise in Brussels when he strolled to an astonishing 35-second victory over Paulo Guerra, the Portuguese runner who won the first two European titles, in Alnwick, Northumberland.

Radcliffe, who established her credentials as a teenager when she won the world junior championship in the snow and sub-zero temperatures of Boston in 1992, came of international age when she took the silver medal in the senior race last March.

Neither is in Lisbon this year for what promises to be a wide open meeting. Brown is recovering from a hip injury while Radcliffe is honouring a long- standing commitment to run the Honolulu Mile.

But Clarke insists that memories of what they did to lift the image of British running will ensure their colleagues give everything they possess to achieve medal-winning performances.

"The spirit of what Jon achieved in Belgium 12 months ago still lingers," said Clarke, whose own competitive experience in major championships over 17 years has helped bring him considerable success since his appointment two years ago.

"Flying over, the team members were still talking in awe of how we thrashed Europe's best. Now they want to do the same, and I would say if Keith Cullen hits the form he is capable of he will come away with a medal of some description. Likewise Andy Pearson, who won a bronze medal two years ago, is in the same frame of mind to be a dangerous threat.

"Both of them have strong backing in the shape of Christian Stephenson, Chris Robinson, Dermot Donnelly and Dominic Bannister to make serious challenges for the team honours.

Clarke said he would not make the mistake of underestimating the opposition. "Spain have a very strong squad led by the world marathon champion, Martin Fiz, while Portugal, although weakened, will want to perform well on their own patch. But the boys really have the bit between their teeth and are eager to come up trumps."

Clarke also believes the British women can at least equal the team silver medal they won in the mud of Belgium, albeit with a brand new line-up this time.

"There's a buzz about them - particularly Liz Talbot, Radcliffe's team- mate at Bedford," Clarke said. "They've come here totally committed, and I think Liz, supported by Vikki McPherson, who is in the form of her life, are capable of being more successful than they both realise."

After yesterday's Heathrow Airport fire the team were transferred to flights from Gatwick, and all team members arrived more or less on schedule.

"The help from British Airways staff was fantastic," Clarke said. "Indeed, I think it will have acted as yet another motivating factor, knowing people really care about British sporting teams."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot