ATHLETICS: Paul Pollock looks for Boxing Day success

Paul Pollock
Paul Pollock

Paul Pollock heads a field of more than 1000 for the Greencastle Boxing Day 5 Miles Road Race in County Tyrone.

The Olympic Marathon runner has won the event for the last two years setting the course record of 24 minutes 07 in 2014 and will start red hot favourite after a good run in the European Cross Country Championships.

Scott Rankin and Conan McCaughey can be the closest challengers.

Scott was runner up last year and also took silver in the Seeley Cup and Irish Novice with Conan just behind in each race.

Chris McGuinness,Andrew Annett,Gerard Heaney and possibly Ben Branagh can also feature.

With record holder Ann-Marie McGlynn unlikely to go and six times champion Maria McCambridge also doubtful the Ladies race can go to Northern Ireland 10,000 metres champion Catherine Whoriskey who set a best of 77-52 when winning the Waterside Half Marathon.

Judith Lonnen, fourth last time can take a medal with Heather Foley and Karen Alexander,both on the podium 12 months ago likely to be front runners if they enter along with Natalie Hall.

There is a massive prize list covering the first five men and women plus the top three in all Masters age groups

One athlete who will bring the big crowd to their feet is Francis Boal. The Lagan Valley man ,very popular on the circuit will amazingly be competing in his 1000th race.

The event starts from Greencastle Community Centre at 1 pm with the walk earlier at 11 and Wheelchairs going at 12 50.

Meanwhile Two-time double Olympic champion Mo Farah will aim to win the Great Edinburgh International XCountry race for a second time on 7 January.

Farah, 33, won the event in 2011 but had to settle for second earlier this year behind American Garrett Heath.

Scotland’s Callum Hawkins will also compete in the men’s race.