STROUD’S Ander Russell insists he will return a stronger athlete for the experience after finishing off his first-ever Aviva 2012 Olympic trials in Birmingham with a 20th place finish, writes Tom Reynolds.

The 24-year-old Stroud AC star looked on the pace in the opening stages of the 5,000m that was eventually won by Ross Millington but faded late on to end up down the field.

Russell crossed the line in a time of 14:36.68minutes but admitted that his naivety might have cost him after some jostling for position in the early laps.

“I knew it was going to be a lot of argy bargy at the start,” he said.

“It’s very hard to get into a rhythm with all that going on.

“Of course I knew that it was always going to be tough and my legs were very tired by the end of the race.

“I wasn’t expecting to do too much here anyway, it was all about experience and this should hopefully stand me in good stead.

“For the rest of the track season I don’t know what my plans are, I want to get to the world trials next year and this will help me to get to that level.

“This is my first trials as a senior and one thing is for certain, watching it is not the same as actually being there.

“I thought it might be a little bit quicker up the front to spread things out but they didn’t really do that for a bit so there was a lot of argy bargy.”

Russell’s 5ks are now over for the season but the Stroud man has set his sights on the shorter distance of 1,500m in a bid to improve his speed work.

And the 24-year-old is confident that with the right changes he will be back stronger than ever to take on the country’s best next year.

“That’s probably it for me at 5k this season, I’ll start looking at the 1500m now, hopefully with a bit more strength under my belt and aim to go under 3:50,” he added.

“I would hope to be able to make an impression next year, there is still a long way to go before I’m up with the top guys but it’s a good test to have been at the trials.” AVIVA has been backing the GB & NI Team since 1999.

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