ATHLETICS: Paul Pollock aiming to reign supreme in Omagh Half Marathon

Paul Pollock
Paul Pollock

Paul Pollock can lead a feast of record-breaking at the 26th Spar Omagh Half Marathon on Saturday but he will have to see off a strong Kenyan challenge to clinch victory.

Pollock comes to the event fresh from a comfortable victory in the Queens 5K. He has a best for the half marathon of 62:09 set in last year’s World Championships in Copenhagen and recently came second at Reading in 64:05.

The record standing to Stephen Scullion at 64:45 should certainly be in his sights particularly if he is pressed by top Kenyans Gideon Kimosop and Vincent Kiprotich.

Kimosop followed his fourth at Greenmount with victory at Downpatrick while Kiprotich, second at Downpatrick, set a course record of 66:23 when winning at Larne from Eddie McGinley who came first at Omagh 12 months ago.

There is a possibility that Martin Fegan the Olympian from Mullingar will start. He ran second to Pollock at Greencastle and recently won the Raheny 5 Miles Race. He is a former National Cross Country Champion.

Scott Rankin second in the Queens race is in great form, while John Frazer from Crusaders and St Malachy’s was a comfortable winner at Duncrue.

Greg Roberts, third in the Seeley Cup, is a former runner-up in the Derry marathon, Paul Barbour won the SSE 10K race also in Derry while Northern Ireland and Ulster Cross Country Champion Declan Reed is another possibility.

Sarah Milligan from DSD will face another Kenyan Selinah Kangogo in the Ladies race which is also expected to be fast.

Sarah took the Irish Half Marathon title last season and then came second to Maria McCambridge in the National Cross Country at Rostrevor.

Selinah Kangogo, part of the Project Africa team, also won at Downpatrick before running second to the record-breaking Breege Connolly in the Larne Half Marathon.

Donna Evans won at Omagh in 2012 and was second in 2013, Louise Smith - the Masters champion -came third at Downpatrick while Cathy McCourt was first at Duncrue. Gillian Burns and Gerrie Short will also go well.

The wheelchair race, won by Patrick Monahan last time, is expected to be between Jim Corbett and Paul Hannon.

There are more than 3,000 entries for the main half marathon, 5K fun run and walk.

The walk starts at 11am with the half marathon and fun run at 12noon. The nominated charity is Omagh RNIB.