Middle-distance runner Tiarnan Crorken sets sights on a medal at the Euros!

The goalposts have been moved for Tiarnan Crorken after a career-best performance secured his qualification for the European Under 23 Championships.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 8:00 am
Tiarnan Crorken crosses the line first at the English Championships in Bedford. Credit: Mark Shearman

The middle-distance runner – and former Pendle AC member – from Burnley will don his GB vest in Estonia next month after he was first across the line in the 1,500m at the English Championships.

The 22-year-old, who races for Preston Harriers, came out on top in a sprint finish at the Bedford International Athletic Stadium, the home of Paula Radcliffe MBE.

He finished in a time of 3.40:53, fractionally quicker than Adidas-sponsored athlete Joshua Lay and third place George Mills, son of former England defender Danny Mills, sponsored by Nike.

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History student Tiarnan, now in the final year of his degree at the University of Leeds, said: “Hopefully the result will put me on the map for sponsorship myself. There is also the option of going over to the US and exploring the college system there. I’ve already been in touch with a few coaches from different universities out there.

“All my best performances have come over the last month so we’ll have to see if these opportunities come along.

“Hopefully people will take more notice of me if I perform well while wearing my GB vest at a major competition.”

The former Blessed Trinity RC High School pupil, coached by Andy Bibby, would previously have been content with making the grade for the gathering in Estonia, held between July 8-11th.

But his new objective is to beat some of the best young athletes the continent has to offer and secure a podium finish.

“It didn’t take me by surprise as such, because I was preparing to win, but it was a little bit unexpected,” he admitted. “It has shifted the goalposts slightly.

“If I’d have qualified by finishing either second or third, then the European Championships would have been about gaining that experience for me.

“However, I want to try and finish with a medal at the championships now or at least make the final.”

Tiarnan’s best results so far have come on these shores.

Crorken, currently ranked fifth in the UK in his class, was runner-up in the English Schools’ Championships 1,500m in Birmingham in 2017.

He also came second in the 800m at the British University Championships at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

The ambitious athlete is hoping to translate that form to foreign soil and emulate the likes of Sophie Hitchon, who took bronze at the Olympics in Rio in 2016. “You take inspiration from things like that,” he said.

“Seeing someone from your hometown doing it gives you the belief that it is possible.”

Tiarnan added: “The potential excites me.

“I definitely want to go on and compete in the World Championships and the Olympic Games. I don’t see why I can’t achieve that.

“This is my breakthrough year!”