21 August 2016


Paul Pollock World Half Marathon, Cardiff Photography by Keith McClure

Annadale's Paul Pollock produced a superb performance in yesterday's Rio Olympic Marathon when he sliced through the field in the last 15 kilometres to finish in 32nd position from a field of 150 in a time of 2 hrs 16 mins 24 secs. In addition Kevin Seaward of St Malachy's   produced a solid run to cross the line in 64th in 2 hrs 20 mins 6 secs. 

This is Pollock's second fastest ever time and is all the more impressive given the significant problems which the 29 year old faced in the weeks prior to Rio.

Shortly after his outstanding 14th place in the World Half Marathon in March the 29 year old doctor picked up a leg injury which for a while placed a serious doubt on his participation in Rio.

He eventually recovered but following his selection Paul then faced weeks of uncertainty relating to a formal objection concerning his inclusion in the Irish team for Rio. This matter was only resolved shortly before he left for the Olympics. 

Pollock made a cautious start in yesterday's race taking account of the humid conditions and the fact that his last marathon race was almost a year ago in Berlin. At the halfway mark he was just inside the top 100 with Seaward some 10 places back and the 3rd Irish runner Mick Clohissey further back.

Pollock then started a determined effort to elevate himself up the field. Over each 5k mark he passed on average some 20 athletes who were wilting following over optimistic pacing. In the last 15k he overtook some 60 athletes. His early cautious tactics clearly paid off and reflected his previous experience in the World Championships in 2013 when he also worked through the field to finish 21st as second European.

Pollock said "A top 20 performance was the first goal. I went out 30 secs to a minute slower for the first half than the plan had been but the legs didn't come round to the second half. I then came through strongly and this should give me a good platform to produce an even better performance in major championships."

"It’s great to see the rise in the number of athletes get the Irish marathon standard and I'm aiming for the World Championships in London in 2017 ".  

Loughborough teacher Seaward also overtook scores of athletes from an earlier position of 124th to cross the line in 64th. An exhausted Clohissey who had been suffering from a foot infection finished 103rd in 2 hrs 26 mins 34 secs. 

The Gold medal went to former Olympic medallist Eluid Kipchoge of Kenya in 2.08.44. Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa took silver in 2.09.54 followed by Galen Rupp in 2.10.05.