Paul Pollock goes into the white hot competition of the World Half Marathon Championship in Copenhagen this weekend with hopes of a top 20 finish.
The 27-year-old doctor, who competes for Annadale Striders, was the second European finisher in the World Marathon in Moscow last summer and will be looking for a similar placing.
Paul has been in great form. He is the reigning Northern Ireland 5000 metres and cross country champion and has had a string of victories over the 13 miles distance.
Successes at Lisburn and Ards were followed with a tremendous personal best of 63 minutes 52 when placing third at Bath behind two Kenyans.
He had a convincing victory in the Irish Inter-County Cross Country which he followed with 26th in the Europeans.
Paul has his eyes on the Commonwealth and European Games later in the year. He is likely to run the 10,000 in the Commonwealth before moving up to the full marathon for the Europeans.
As always Africans will be the favourites in Copenhagen with Zersenay Tadesse of Eritrea going for his sixth successive Mens title and Lucy Wangui of Kenya fancied in the Womens. Another best for Pollock can be on the cards.
Meanwhile, a six strong team from St Malachy’s College Belfast are travelling to the Valley of Springs in Northern Israel this weekend to compete in the ISF World Schools Cross Country Championships.
Paddy Robb leads the side. He has been All Ireland Schools 1500 champion and U17 Cross Country winner and has competed in the London Mini Marathon several times.
James Smyth and Chris Connolly have also competed in London as have Ronan O’Fril, a basketball international, Darryl McNicholl and Kieran O’Reilly who is on the Irish Water Polo Squad.
The side is coached by former Northern Ireland 400 champion Michael Cooke and World and European representative Joe McAllister.