McCormack aiming to be competitive in 10,000 final
Though she has twice conquered her European rivals over the natural terrain of cross-country, Fionnuala McCormack has yet to emulate that success on the track, but the Wicklow woman has another chance to do so on the first day of European Championships in Amsterdam today.
The women's 10,000m is the sole final this evening in the Olympic stadium, an arena which hosted the Games back in 1928. McCormack finished fourth in this race in 2012, and though she has prepared with the bigger picture of next month's Olympic Games in mind, she is intent on reaching the podium.
"You want to be competitive," said McCormack. "It's a championships and I'm not going there thinking I'm doing a tempo run. I'm going to race. I've been fourth enough to know that's not where I want to be."
McCormack is qualified for the Olympics in both the 10,000m and marathon, but has yet to decide which event she will focus on.
Her 10,000m best of 31:29.22 from 2012 makes her the second fastest in this evening's final and McCormack showed she is getting back to her best by running 32:05.08 in California back in April.
However, she will face a host of formidable rivals, including Norway's Karoline Grovdal, Belgium's Almensch Belete and Dutch hope Jip Vastenburg.
Elsewhere today, Thomas Barr will venture into international competition for the first time since returning from injury when he lines up in the heats of the 400m hurdles shortly after 4pm.
The 23-year-old, who has faced an abbreviated preparation after missing 11 weeks with a hip injury in recent months, was impressive on his return to action at the national championships, taking victory in 50.28.
However, the Ferrybank athlete will need to go much quicker to secure a spot in Friday's final, with a run approaching his national record of 48.65 likely to be required.
Brian Gregan, Craig Lynch and David Gillick are all in action in the 400m, with the first four in each heat automatically advancing to tomorrow's semi-finals.
Gregan, Lynch and Gillick will team up with Barr for the heats of the 4x400m on Saturday, when they will be looking for a run faster than 3:04.25 to become one of the top 16-ranked teams in the world and book their spot at the Olympics.
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