Dynamic duo are heading for Dublin

TWO OF Newham & Essex Beagles leading athletes have set their sights on Team GB jerseys ahead of next month s European Cross Country Championships, WRITES BEN WELCH. Lee Merrien and Great South Run winner Mo Farah have been in excellent form heading into

TWO OF Newham & Essex Beagles' leading athletes have set their sights on Team GB jerseys ahead of next month's European Cross Country Championships, WRITES BEN WELCH.

Lee Merrien and Great South Run winner Mo Farah have been in excellent form heading into the UK Athletics (UKA) trials in Liverpool on November, 28.

The event will see the final Great Britain team selected for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Dublin on December, 13.

Merrien recently finished fifth at the McCain UK Cross Country Challenge in Gateshead. The 30-year-old recorded a time of 28.56.


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The Beagle was not far behind the race winner, Michael Skinner, of the Blackheath & Bromley club, who crossed the line in 28.14.

The fitness instructor says he is gearing up for the real test on Merseyside. "I'm satisfied with my performance at Gateshead. My main focus is the trials in Liverpool where I hope to impress and make the Great Britain team," said Merrien.

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"This was a good run ahead of the trials and gave me a chance to check out the competition on what was quite a tricky course.

"I know I can run a better time, but the main thing was to continue my preparation for Liverpool."

Merrien's team-mate Farah, has also outlined a desire to compete in Ireland next month.

"My aim is to go to Kenya tomorrow and train with the (Kenyan) boys at 8,000 feet and get ready for the European Cross Country," said the 26-year-old.

Farah will be looking to wrestle the gold medal off reigning champion Sergei Lebid, who will be defending his title at the Santry venue.

The Ukrainian defeated Farah at last year's championship in Brussels.

As part of his training for the European Championships the current European Indoor 3,000 metre champion is spending five weeks in Kenya at altitude.

"That's the next big step when I compete in Ireland and until then it's a case of staying injury free and focused," Farah said.

UK Athletics Head of Endurance Ian Stewart believes the Irish conditions will suit the British team.

"The Santry Demesne course is a typical British Cross Country course but it is all weather dependent," said Stewart.

"With rain it will be tough, but our team will be used to those conditions.

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