Paul Pollock breaks Northern Ireland half marathon record

Paul Pollock
Paul Pollock

Paul Pollock smashed the Northern Ireland record with a blistering performance in the World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen.

The 27 year old Annadale Strider who was the only Irish representative in the Mens race paced himself well as he speeded up in the second part of the race to finish in 62:09 in 30th place.

He was the fifth European to finish in the race won by Geoffrey Kipsang of Kenyan in 59:07.

On this showing Pollock, who knocked one minute and forty three seconds off his best set in Bath should be capable of two hours twelve minutes over the full marathon distance as he looks towards the Europeans.

Meanwhile, Eddie McGinley ran a superbly judged race to win the 25th Spar Omagh Half Marathon in an event that attracted almost 3000 competitors in dull but good conditions.

From the gun former Irish champion Gary Murray blasted into the lead and was soon clear of a group of five including McGinley, Gary O’Hanlon, Declan Reed, Barry Minnock and the home club’s Stephen Duncan.

The fancied Sergiu Ciobanu did not start as he is concentrating on the Rotterdam race.

By five miles Murray had an eleven second advantage over McGinley with O’Hanlon and Reed following just ahead of Minnock and Duncan. McGinley was looking very relaxed.

McGinley, also an Irish cross country champion, closed quickly and moved ahead to lead by four seconds at 10 miles with Reed and O’Hanlon still locked together in third.

McGinley opened up in the closing three miles to cross the line in 66:37 over a minute before Murray. O’Hanlon clinched third with Reed, Minnock, Duncan and an isolated Brian Leahy making up the top seven.

The winner was delighted. “I took a while to recover from my marathon debut in Dublin but that felt good” he said.

Maria McCambridge led for every step of the way in the Ladies race.

The Olympian had almost a three minutes gap over Karen Alexander at five miles, increased it to six at ten miles and finished over eight minutes to the good.

Karen was chased hard by Claire McGuigan with last year’s runner up Donna Evans, Magherafelt winner Hannah Oldroyd and Siobhan Carroll next.

Patrick Monahan was impressive as he added this wheelchair title to his Larne win. Paul Hannon led by thirty seconds at one stage but with wheel damage was caught with three miles to go before dropping to third behind Jim Corbett.

Southern visitors Simon Ryan and Bernard McCullagh took the top two places in the fun run with Sacred Heart Omagh providing the top girls with Toni Moore and Caolainn McQuaid.

In other news, Alan Bogle scored a tremendous victory in the Donard Challenge which was the first round of the British Mountain Championship.

The City of Derry athlete came out on top of a duel with Iain Whiteside of Carnethy to win by ten seconds in very foggy conditions.

Neil Northrop of Dark Peak came third. Jonny Steede in 20th was next local finisher.

Shileen O’Kane 5th, Diane Wilson 9th and Denise Mathers 16th were top home runners in the Ladies which was won by Jackie Lee of Eryri in Wales.