Friday 17 August 2018

Scullion runs huge PB to bag Euro spot

Ireland’s Stephen Scullion knocked more than two minutes off his lifetime best during yesterday’s London Marathon. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland’s Stephen Scullion knocked more than two minutes off his lifetime best during yesterday’s London Marathon. Photo: Getty Images

Cathal Dennehy

Stephen Scullion secured qualification for this year's European Championships in Berlin when clocking 2:15:55 to finish 12th in the London Marathon yesterday. The 29-year-old Belfast man carved more than two minutes off his lifetime best in the race, which was won by Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge in 2:04:17.

With temperatures soaring into the 20s, it proved an arduous day for all 40,000 competitors, and Scullion admitted that after passing halfway in 67:48 he considered stepping off the course.

"I thought I might just pull out and run Belfast in two weeks, the heat was really getting to me," he said. "The soak of my shorts was making my legs feel heavy but they weren't, so I said to myself: 'shut the f*** up and keep running. You've just run a 5:05 mile. Calm down, relax.'"

Scullion passed a number of athletes over the second half as the heat took its toll on the leaders, and he eventually crossed the line 12th in a huge PB.

Dropping "I got to 23 miles and said: 'Believe in yourself, this is your bread and butter'," said Scullion.

"I just kept going and at that stage I was wondering why I was ever considering dropping out."

He will now look to also secure qualification over 10,000m by competing over the 25-lap distance in Portland, USA, before turning his focus to the Euros.

There was no such joy for Gary O'Hanlon, the 43-year-old Irish champion, who was looking to run under 2:17 to book his place in Berlin. He passed halfway in 68:46 but faded in the closing miles and crossed the line in 2:21:14.

Behind Kipchoge, Mo Farah broke the British record to finish third in 2:06:21.

The women's race was won by Vivian Cheruiyot in 2:18:31, the Olympic 5,000m champion from Kenya who is coached and managed by Donegal native Ricky Simms.

Irish Independent

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