Even in Mo Farah’s absence, the Hampden roar at Sunday’s 5000m Commonwealth Final was ferocious, with two English athletes putting in impressive performances. Andy Vernon, who has been plagued by injuries throughout the year, took sixth position, with Cumbria’s Tom Farrell closely following his international team-mate in seventh.
Vernon, who has been recovering from injury for the last six weeks, narrowly missed out on a PB to complete the course in 13:22.32. Scotland has proven to be a happy hunting ground for the runner after he took second place at the Bupa Great Edinburgh International in January.
After the race, Vernon said he wasn’t anticipating such a strong performance after being forced to modify his training since the turn of the year: "That was better than expected because my last six months have been really difficult I've reduced my mileage to 30 miles per week and while I've been doing lots to keep fit, it's not the same as running. I wasn't coming here in that sort of shape but I ran my second fastest time ever, so I'm really pleased."
Farrell, meanwhile, stuck with Vernon for the majority of the race, finishing less than two seconds behind in 13:23.96. After narrowly, and perhaps somewhat unfairly, missing out on competing in London 2012, Farrell said he was delighted with his first performance on the international stage, tweeting: “7th in my first major, 3rd quickest time of my life, an unforgettable experience! Thanks to all the fans, the stadium & support was amazing!”
At the front of the field, Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku produced an electric 54 second final lap to secure first place in 13:12.7, with fellow countryman Isiah Koech following (13:14.06) and Zane Robertson in third place (13:16.52).
One of the loudest cheers of the day, however, was saved for Rosefelo Siosi from the Solomon Islands. Siosi, eventually finishing more than three minutes behind Ndiku, was left to complete the remaining two laps by himself. The majority of the 40,000 crowd remained to hail a new found hero, with Siosi later commenting: “I feel so tired. It was too cold for me. It was difficult to finish the race. I almost gave up, but the crowd were shouting ‘Go! Go! So I had to finish.”