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FIVE NI ATHLETES READY FOR IAAF WORLD HALF MARATHON CHAMPIONSHIPS

23 March 2018

FIVE NI ATHLETES READY FOR IAAF WORLD HALF MARATHON CHAMPIONSHIPS

Five runners from Northern Ireland will represent Ireland at this weekend’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia, Spain (Saturday 24th March 2018).

Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders / Andrew Hobdell), Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC / Andrew Hobdell), Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers / Stephen Haas), Laura Graham (Mourne Runners / Ryan Maxwell) and Fionnuala Ross (Armagh AC / Dermot Kerr) will all be hoping to impress on what has been described as a flat and urban course around Spain’s third largest City.

Commonwealth Games bound Paul Pollock has recorded his two fastest 13.1 mile times at IAAF World Half Marathon Championship events, running 1:02:09 in Copenhagen in 2014 and 1:02:46 in Cardiff in 2016.  Earlier this year, the Olympian clocked 1:05:40 at the Barcelona Half Marathon.

“I just want a solid race heading into the Commonwealths,” said Pollock. “I’ve been looking to do well here. I feel in good shape. I’ve had lots of quality miles in. I’m healthy and ready to race. And it looks like the kind of flat, rapid course where I can challenge my personal best.”

Fellow Team NI athlete and Olympian Kevin Seaward goes into the Championships having enjoyed an excellent 29:36 personal best outing at the Telford 10k in January (2018).  In 2017, Kevin ran a personal best of 1:04:51 at the Newark Half Marathon.

Clonliffe Harriers athlete Stephen Scullion is in arguably the best form ahead of the major Championships, given his 1:03:16 personal best at the Houston Half Marathon in January (2018).  This was a notable performance in Stephen’s return to his best – the first sign of this was a 10,000m time of 28:58 in Portland in 2017.  He also ran 2:17:59 over marathon distance in London last year (2017).

Current AAI National Marathon Champion and winner of the Belfast Marathon in 2017, Laura Graham, also goes into the Championships in good form, following a 1:15:15 personal best at the Big Half in London earlier this month.  The Northern Ireland international, who will make her Ireland debut this weekend, narrowly missed a qualifying time for the Commonwealth Games marathon, when running a massive personal best of 2:37:05 at the Berlin Marathon at the end of 2017.

Fionnuala Ross is another athlete who is in top form.  After making her Ireland debut at the European XC Championships in December (2017), Fionnuala has impressed over the country and on the roads.  The Armagh AC and Shettleston Harriers athlete won the Scottish Inter-District XC title and claimed a top ten finish at the Antrim International, where she represented Northern Ireland.  Fionnuala’s 13.1 mile personal best is 1:14:26, set at the Great Scottish Half Marathon in 2017 – this followed a 10k personal best of 33:57 at the Stirling 10k a month earlier.

The local athletes will also be joined on the team by Kevin Dooney (Raheny Shamrock AC), Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers), Lizzie Lee (Leevale AC), Laura Shaughnessy (DSD AC) and Claire McCarthy (Leevale AC).

Respected Northern Ireland based coach Richard Rodgers will be the Ireland Team Manager for the event.

The full Ireland team for the event is available below:

Men

Coach

Club

Stephen Scullion

Stephen Haas

Clonliffe Harriers AC

Kevin Dooney

Jerry Kiernan

Raheny Shamrock AC

Kevin Seaward

Andy Hobdell

St Malachy’s AC

Paul Pollock

Andy Hobdell

Annadale Striders

Sergiu Ciobanu

Jerry Kiernan

Clonliffe Harriers AC

Women

Coach

Club

Lizzie Lee

Donie Walsh

Leevale AC

Laura Shaughnessy

Terry McConnon

DSD AC

Fionnuala Ross

Dermot Kerr

Armagh AC

Claire McCarthy

Ronan Boland

Leevale AC

Laura Graham

Ryan Maxwell

Mourne Runners

Team Manager:  Richard Rodgers

 

Elsewhere this weekend…

Irish Life AAI National Juvenile Indoor Track & Field Championships:

Outside Northern Ireland, a large number of local athletes will travel to the AIT Arena in Athlone for Day 3 of the Irish Life AAI National Juvenile Indoor Track & Field Championships (Sunday 25th March 2018).

Commonwealth Youth Games competitor Anna McCauley (City of Lisburn AC) and Juvenile Indoor medallists from last weekend, Riona Doherty (Finn Valley AC), Finn O’Neill (City of Derry AC) and Tony Craig (Lagan Valley AC) will lead the hunt for honours.

Jordan Cunningham (City of Lisburn AC), Oisin Duffy (City of Derry AC), Boyd Russell (Olympian YC) and Cait O’Reilly (Annalee AC) should also be amongst the medal contenders.

A provisional entry list and timetable for the event is available HERE.