Parker clinches place in Europeans

Norfolk steeplechaser Barbara Parker said it was a job well done after claiming gold and a European Championship spot at the Aviva Trials and UK Championships.

Norfolk steeplechaser Barbara Parker said it was a job well done after claiming gold and a European Championship spot at the Aviva Trials and UK Championships.

Parker was the first athlete home in Birmingham, clocking a season's best time of 9.37.77 minutes to beat Hatti Dean into the silver medal position.

The early withdrawal in the 3,000m steeplechase of Helen Clitheroe through injury aided Parker's quest for gold but it did mean the Norwich ace, who will head back to California on Monday to do some speed training, had to run the race out on her own.

'It was a solid race,' said Parker. 'When you run by yourself it's a nice feeling but it doesn't really help in terms of pushing you on.


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'It's tough because steeplechase can be tiring, it's not just running around the track but there are some big hurdles out there as well.

'It's quite difficult to pick up time towards the end so you really have to be fully focused all the way around if you're after a good time. I'm back off the California on Monday and I'm racing a 3k and a 5k soon - that's what I want to do towards to end of the season, just get some flat races in to increase the speed.'

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The City of Norwich runner, who has a personal best of 9.37.08 minutes, says she's targeting a lifetime's best showing this summer.

With the European Championships in Barcelona in July followed quickly by the Commonwealth Games in Delhi - Parker is determined to make her mark internationally as well as domestically.

'Every time I've got under 9:40 it's been on my own so hopefully if I can get myself into a pack in a competitive race then I'll get under 9:30.

'I just wanted to front run and just enjoy racing rather than think about the time or anything like that and see what I could do really. Last week at the European Cup it was really windy so there was no going for times and there was no chance to get in a pack.'

t Aviva has been the No 1 sponsor of UK Athletics since 1999 and is committed to developing the sport at every level. Find out more at aviva.co.uk/athletics

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