Sport

Kerry may step up for Athens

ATHLETE Kerry Gillibrand may step up a distance to fulfil a dream of competing at the Olympics in Athens this year.
STEPPING up a distance... Kerry Gillibrand who is bidding to fulfil her Olympic dream.

ATHLETE Kerry Gillibrand may step up a distance to fulfil a dream of competing at the Olympics in Athens this year.

Kerry made the final of the 1500m for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester but knows she faces a tough task to even get into the Great Britain team for the three-and-three-quarter-lap event in Greece.

Kelly Holmes, Helen Pattinson and Hayley Tullett are all ahead of Baxenden athlete Kerry in the pecking order with three runners due to go to Athens. And so the 27-year-old may try and make the move up to the 5km event to see if she can compete in Greece.

She said: "The qualifying time for the Olympics for 1500m is four minutes and six seconds. My best is 4.11 so I have to knock a second a lap off to get to that. And even then those three are probably in the top 10, or top five, on personal bests in the world so it will be hard."

"I have been doing a lot of endurance work and feel stronger, I have done a lot more work in the gym, so I might have a go at a 5km and see how I do."

Kerry, a former Hyndburn AC athlete who now runs for Sale Harriers, was fourth-ranked Great Britain over 1500m last season and was fourth ranked over 3km.

She hopes to be back stronger this season but has suffered with injuries over the winter and had considered going abroad to train in South Africa but changed her mind, adding: "I have seen runners who have gone out there and have hardly improved.''

She was back competing in the Trafford 10km a fortnight ago where she battled to win the ladies event in 34 minutes 40 seconds.

"I felt okay so now it is time to compete in a few more road events and then go onto the track about May."

"Of course I would love to compete in the Olympics, it is a massive event and it would be great to just go there, but I daren't think about it - I have just got to see how the races go."

The Olympic trials in July are in Manchester at a new track built near the Commonwealth Games City of Manchester stadium. And Kerry knows she won't be overawed after competing in the Commonwealth Games.

She said: "All I really remember about that was the crowds, it was fantastic. The next time I have to compete in a large event I think I will be a lot more relaxed and just enjoy it more."