Paul Pollock, Kevin Seaward and Gary Murray will be aiming for Olympic qualifying times as they join the 40,000 athletes competing in this weekend’s Berlin Marathon.
The target for all three will be the time of 2:17. The Berlin course is fast and flat and was the setting for the World’s fastest time set last year by Dennis Kimetto from Kenyan.
Pollock has suffered from injury since he was second European finisher in the World Marathon at Moscow in 2013. He has since won the intercounties cross country and produced a half marathon best of 69:09 in Copenhagen. He has a time over the full distance of 2:16:30 set in Dublin.
St Malachy’s athlete Kevin Seaward ran 2:18:46 in Manchester before finishing 28th in the Europeans. Like Pollock he can go close to 2:16.
Former Irish Cross Country champion Gary Murray makes his marathon debut. He ran 64:40 for the half marathon and looked very classy when winning the Laganside 10K at the start of the month. If he is injury free he can come close to the standard.
Martin Fagan has already achieved the time while five more competitors in Berlin Mick Clohissey, 1st at the Waterside, Gary Thornton, Sean Hehir, Mark Kenneally and new Irish member Sergiu Ciobaniu all have the potential which could leave the selectors with an interesting problem as they decide on the three places for Rio.
Declan Reed ran 2:26:44 in Dublin and the City of Derry athlete will be hopeful of a new best.
Lizzie Lee from Cork the national half marathon champion will be hoping to beat her personal best with 2:38:09 set in Berlin two years ago.