Two of Northern Ireland’s top athletes will be chasing Commonwealth Standards in America this weekend.
Marathon star Paul Pollock and Steeplechaser Kerry O’Flaherty will be in action in the prestigious Payton Jordan Invitational Track and Field Meeting at Stanford, California.
Paul, already qualified for the European Championships in the marathon drops down to the 10,000 metres in a bid to run twenty minutes forty five. He is the reigning Northern Ireland 5,000 champion and has been in great form.
He clocked 62:09 in the World Half Marathon then produced runaway victories in the Queens 5K and Titanic 10K. He hasn’t run a 10,000 metres on the track but has the capability to get the time and qualify for Glasgow.
Kerry O’Flaherty was unlucky to miss the last Commonwealths in India. She is the Northern Ireland record holder at 3,000, 5,000 and Steeplechase.
She has a best for the Steeplechase of 9:56.73 just a second outside the qualification. She has been running well in the USA with 10:00.27 at Walnut a fortnight ago and like Paul Pollock will go close.
Meanwhile Ian Bailey led a Newcastle clean sweep in the third round of the Hill and Dale Mountain Series at Slieve Martin in Rostrevor. Last year’s winner was strong on both climb and descent as he came home thirteen seconds before Seamus Lynch with David Steele third.
Diane Wilson scored her third successive victory. The placings behind were the same as the Dromore girl headed Catherine O’Connor.