Athletics: Murray takes 5k title but misses time

CAPITAL athlete Freya Murray took the 5000 metres title in the Aviva UK Championships and European trials at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham.

However, thwarted by the lack of opposition – the threatened appearance of her Anglo Scottish rival Steph Twell did not materialise – and the unhelpful warm and windy conditions, Murray was unable to achieve her coveted second Commonwealth Games qualifying standard.

Her time of 15:48.75 was well outside the 15:35.0 target which she bagged last season and needs to do again to clinch selection for Delhi.

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"It was tough on my own but I just tried to go for a good time and not waste the race," said the 26-year-old Heriot-Watt engineering graduate.

"For the first few laps I was on pace but it got harder and harder. I'm going to do another 5k in two weeks time."

Murray, who had no realistic European ambitions, led home another Scot Laura Kenney, who clocked 15:54.57 and also needs to post a time for Delhi.

Twell meanwhile had flopped badly in Saturday's desperately slow 1500 final, finishing fifth in a maelstrom finish behind Central's Morag MacLarty in a race won by Hannah England.

At least Twell has the qualifying times for both Commonwealth Games and Europeans.

Scottish hopes in the men's 1500 yesterday were similarly doused, Capital physio Alastair Hay finishing a dismal tenth in 3:47.18, nearly six seconds outside his Commonwealth target.

The pole vault offered a better return, Birchfield's Hen Paxton upping her own Scottish record to 4.35m to take the silver medal, while Richard Hurren also cleared a Games standard 5.20 for fourth in the men's.

But, in a whole raft of track events, there was not one Scottish finalist and, in several events, no Scottish contenders.

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Pat Swan (EAC) set a personal best of 46.75 in his 400 semi but it was not enough to progress and Guy Learmonth (Lasswade) went out in the 800 semi, while Sarah Hood (EAC), eighth in the steeplechase, set a new PB of 10:43.65.

Capital-based hammer thrower Andy Frost failed to register a throw, Scottish No.1 Mark Dry was only ninth with a token 62.68m and Susan McKelvie was unable to get over 60m in the women's event.

Scotland did pick up two other titles, Lee McConnell winning the 400 on Saturday in 51.55, just .05 outside the European A standard, and James Campbell taking the javelin with exactly 74.00m.