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?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Media Sales - £36,000 OTE

£28000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: C# .NET Developer / Application Support - Junior

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This business has an industry r...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They make daily deliveries to most foodservice...

Recruitment Genius: Transport Planner

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They make daily deliveries to most foodservice...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash