Ireland's Paul Pollock finishes a creditable 14th in World Half Marathon Championships
Paul Pollock finished 14th in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff this afternoon, running 62:46 in damp, dire conditions to lead the Irish team to a seventh-place finish.
The race was won by Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor in 59:10, with Britain’s Mo Farah finishing third in 59:59.
“It was horrible conditions out there,” said Pollock, who was the second European home after Farah. “I went out hard, a 4:28 first mile, so I was hanging on from then on. I got into a good group and kept pushing the pace. It was very heavy rain for the last two miles, so I’m very happy with that.”
Pollock is now focusing on the London Marathon in four weeks’ time, where he hopes to secure qualification for the Olympic Games. He was followed home today by Thomas Frazier in 41st, Kevin Seaward in 42nd and Sergiu Ciobanu in 50th, with the final Irish team member Sean Hehir dropping out just after halfway.
“I loved it out there,” said Frazier. “It gives you an advantage when you’re from Ireland and you’re used to the rain. I’m shooting for the London Marathon in four weeks, and I’m really excited for that.”
Ciobanu and Seaward, who are both among the three fastest Irishmen qualified for the Olympics, will bypass a spring marathon and hope they have done enough to gain selection in May.
“We came seventh team in the world, which is great,” said Ciobanu. “There are bigger things ahead of us. The conditions were bad, and everybody lost a least a minute those last few miles, but they were the same for everyone.”
Seaward is the fastest Irish qualifier for Rio currently and was pleased with his effort. “Conditions were pretty tough,” he said. “It was too wet, but we did well as a team. For where I’m at, I’m happy enough.”
Lizzie Lee was the sole Irish competitor in the women’s race, the Leevale athlete finishing 52nd in 75:36. “Conditions were horrendous,” she said. “It was really, really windy, and I ended up in a group where only two of us wanted to do any work, but I got stuck in. It was a championship, and I wasn’t expecting a PB. If the weather was lovely I’d be disappointed with that time, but in those conditions, what can you do?”
Lee is currently the fastest Irish female qualifier for the Olympic marathon, having run 2:32:51 at the Berlin Marathon last year.