Northern Ireland distance runners in Zurich mission

Paul Pollock will be in action in Zurich tomorrow
Paul Pollock will be in action in Zurich tomorrow

Three of Northern Ireland’s top distance runners go into action in Zurich on Sunday as part of a four-man Irish team in the European Marathon Championships.

Paul Pollock from Annadale is joined by St Malachy’s pair Tom Frazer and Kevin Seaward on what is a more than useful squad.

Pollock will have the best chance assuming that he is fully recovered from injury.

He ran brilliantly in last year’s World Marathon in Moscow where he was the second European finisher in 2:16:42.

The 27-year-old has a best of 2:16:30 set in Dublin two years ago. He set a Northern Ireland record of 62:09 at the World Half Marathon at Copenhagen and was a comfortable winner of the Titanic 10K and Queen’s 5K.

He just missed Dermot Donnelly’s 10,000 metre record in California and then took part in the Commonwealth Games over that distance finishing 19th.

If Paul is fully fit and has recovered from that run after a seventeen day interval he must stand a chance of a top six finish in a marathon which will not be as world class as the Commonwealth.

American based Tom Frazer, a former Junior champion, has a best of 2:17:45 set in Berlin.

He also came fourth in both Dublin and Belfast Marathons.

Kevin Seaward a former double Northern Ireland champion over 5,000 made his marathon debut in Manchester placed third in 2:18:46. He also came first in the Milton Keynes Half Marathon.

The team is completed by Sean Hehir of Rathfarnham the Dublin Marathon winner and runner up in Lisburn who has a best of 2:17:47 set in Rotterdam.

Meanwhile, the local track action this weekend is at the Mary Peters Track where the Northern Ireland 10,000 Metres and Multi Events Championships will be held along with the team trophy and open graded meeting.

The centre piece of the meeting is the 10,000 metres which is at 2.15pm on Saturday. Entry is on the day but Eddie McGinley is expected to start favourite.

The former holder of the title is the reigning 5,000 champion. He took the Irish Cross Country in 2012 and has taken both Omagh and Ards Half Marathons this year.

Joe McAllister and Gary Murray can enter along with Glen Phair and Andrew Agnew.

Olympian Maria McCambridge will be hotly fancied for the Ladies with other medals expected to be disputed between Natasha Adams, Patricia O’Hagan and Helen Stockdale.

North Down and City of Derry defend their team trophy titles on Saturday, the Men’s, Women’s and U17 multi events are on both on Saturday and Sunday with U15 and U13 Boys on Saturday and U15 and U13 Girls on Sunday. Laura Frey and Libby Rose look to be best Seniors.

Saturday’s competition opens at 10am with Sunday’s action from 11am.