Paul Pollock has been rewarded for his superb form with selection for the Irish team in the European Marathon Championship in Zurich in August.
The Annadale Strider is joined on the four-man team by St Malachy’s pair Tom Frazer and Kevin Seaward plus Sean Hehir of Rathfarnham in the three to score event.
Pollock was the second European finisher in last year’s World Championship Marathon. He has twice run below two hours 17 for the distance.
He achieved the Commonwealth Standard for 10,000 metres in California last weekend with 28:32.18 after clocking 62 minutes nine in World Half Marathon. He will stand a great chance of a top place in Zurich.
Frazer, who lives and works in the USA, set a best of 2:17:45 in Berlin. He came fourth in Belfast last year behind three Kenyans.
Seaward, the former double Northern Ireland 5,000 champion, had a startling marathon debut last month when he clocked 2:18:46 for third in the Great Manchester event.
With the Commonwealth Games just a fortnight before Zurich it is unlikely that Frazer or Seaward will attempt the double. Pollock has already indicated that he will run the 10,000 in Glasgow.
Sean Hehir leads this year’s Irish rankings with 2:17:47. The Ladies team is led by Dublin winner Maria McCambridge who is joined by Nicola Duncan, Barbara Sanchez and Clare McCarthy.
Meanwhile, Brendan Teer is hot favourite to retain his title in the Lions 3 Lakes 14K and 7K Charity Race from the Lakeside Inn, Drumcullen Road near Downpatrick on Saturday.
Teer has had a string of victories including Duncrue and Dundrum and should win comfortably again with East Down clubmate, Martin Wilcox and Annadale’s Paul Carroll going for medals along with Barrie Atkinson and Alan Johnston.
Karen Alexander was the runaway winner last year but after her brilliant third in the Belfast City Marathon she may decide to rest leaving Catherine O’Connor to win. The action starts at 11am.
Elsewhere, the mountain running action on Saturday is the Annalong Horseshoe Race over a 13.1 miles course including 1550 feet of climb. The event includes the third round of the NIMRA Championship.
Jonny Steede won the opening two rounds with Seamus Lynch second in each case and they will be among the front runners along with last year’s medallists Deon McNeilly and Neil Carty, Sam Herron and William McKee. Donard winner Alan Bogle came first at Binnian on Thursday and may fancy a quick return.
Diane Wilson and Shileen O’Kane took the first two places last year and at Glenariffe and Commedagh and will be strongly fancied. Hazel McCausland and Taren McCoy will be highly placed along with Violet Linton and Denise Mathers.
The race starts at 11am.