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Auckland 'not done with mud' just yet

Rhona Auckland insists that she will not rush into trying to qualify for the Commonwealth Games despite her impressive cross country form this winter.

The Banchory-based prospect produced an impressive performance to finish in seventh place as she helped Great Britain take gold at the European Championships in Serbia earlier this month and she will pull on a GB vest again in the New Year at the Bupa Great Edinburgh International.

Auckland plans to work on improvements on the track next summer after finishing ninth over 10,000 metres at the European Under-23 Championships, but the 20-year-old will stick to the long-term plans drawn up by her coach Joyce Hogg.

"I don't have any specific aims yet because we've just been focusing on the cross country season so far, but I think 10,000m and 5000m is where I'll be looking to progress and set some more personal bests," she said. "Ideally I'd be looking at the Commonwealth Games but I think I'm a little bit off it at the moment. If it comes my way then I'll definitely go for it but I'm not going to put any pressure on it. If it works out, then it works out."

The Edinburgh University student will aim for the Scottish title in February and the BUCS crown and seek a place in Scotland's squad for the new Home Internationals before switching surfaces.

"I do enjoy doing a bit of a speed on the track and I think this season we're going to do some shorter races to try and get some speed in my legs," she said. "But I'm not done with cross country yet so I'll enjoy a bit more mud. I probably enjoy both the same. At the point where you start to get sick of one, the season finishes and you're on to the next one."

There is plenty more mud and hills for Auckland to tackle to before her attention turns to track though and she is looking forward to a busy cross country schedule in the New Year.

"I'm going to go straight through; I've got the Scottish National and BUCS Championships in February so I'll aim for them. Then I've got the Cross Challenge Final in Birmingham and the Home International in Scotland so if I can get on to the team for that it would be good."

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