20 April 2018


Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) and Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) will lead hundreds, if not thousands, of local runners into battle at this weekend’s Virgin Money London Marathon (Sunday 22nd April 2018).

Athletes are expected to face soaring temperatures as they negotiate the famous 26.2 mile course.  A planned DLR strike has been cancelled, which is good news for those travelling to the event.

Stephen Scullion, who won the recent Omagh Half Marathon (1:07:01) and Titanic 10k (30:29) on consecutive days, lines up in a talent laden field, which includes reigning London Marathon Champion Daniel Wanjiru (Kenya) and Great Britain’s double Olympic Champion Mo Farah.

In 2017, Stephen recorded his marathon personal best, an excellent 2:17:59, in London.  This saw the Northern Ireland and Ireland international fall just short of his 2:17:00 target, which would have put him in contention for a place on the Ireland team for the IAAF World Championships.

However, he goes into this year’s race off a strong year of training and racing, and will have his eyes on the Athletics Ireland’s European Championships marathon standard of 2:17:00.

Based on his previous attempt in London and his more recent 1:03:16 over half marathon distance in Houston (USA), it is well within his reach.

Young Newcastle AC athlete and current NI & Ulster 10,000m Champion Eoghan Totten is an exciting prospect over marathon distance – he takes a 1:06:14 half marathon time (from Barcelona 2018) into his 26.2 mile debut.

Commonwealth Games 2014 competitor Gladys Ganiel O’Neill will lead the local ladies in their hunt for personal bests.  Gladys ran 2:37:55 in Berlin last year (2017) and should again dip under the Athletics Ireland European Championships marathon standard of 2:38:00.

Former AAI National 24 hour Champion Susan McCartney (BARF), who ran a IAU World 100k Championships qualifying standard of 8:33:50 in Crawley (England) at the start of this month will also start in London.

In the elite ladies race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, who boasts a personal best of 2:17:01, has made it clear that she is aiming for Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 World Record.

Junior athletes from across the Province will also be involved in the associated Virgin Money London Mini-Marathon.

The Virgin Money London Marathon will be shown live on BBC1 on Sunday 22nd April 2018 from 08:30am.

Elsewhere this weekend…

Northern Ireland and Ulster clubs are expected to be well represented at the Irish Life AAI National Road Relay Championships, which will be hosted by Raheny Shamrock’s AC in Dublin (Sunday 22nd April 2018).

In 2017, teams from QUB AC, Letterkenny AC, North Down AC, Finn Valley AC and City of Derry AC all performed well at the event.

A timetable for the event is available HERE.