Sunday 17 February 2019

Scullion Toyko bound after marathon best

Ireland’s Stephen Scullion. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland’s Stephen Scullion. Photo: Getty Images

Cathal Dennehy

Stephen Scullion became the fastest Irish marathon runner since 2011 when smashing his personal best in Texas yesterday, the 30-year-old clocking 2:14:34 to finish 10th in the Houston Marathon, won by Kenya's Albert Korir in 2:10:02.

Scullion's previous best was 2:15:55 but it was clear when he passed halfway in 67:03 that he was on for a big PB.

What made his run more impressive was that he took a wrong turn at 14 miles, but was soon corrected by a member of the public.

The subsequent U-turn caused his hamstrings to cramp and he battled pain all the way to the finish, but he was rewarded with a qualifying time for this year's World Championships in Doha and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Elsewhere, Fionnuala McCormack made her return to racing at the Northern Ireland International Cross Country in Dundonald on Saturday.

The 34-year-old gave birth to her first child last September but finished an impressive sixth in the women's 8,000m race in 27:24. Ethiopia's Meskerem Mamo won in 26:20.

Belfast's Mark McKinstry was first of the local runners in the men's race in 13th, won by Bahrain's Birhanu Balew.

Laura Frey of Lagan Valley and Shane Aston of Trim claimed the senior titles at the National Indoor Combined Events Championships.

Frey took the pentathlon title with 3,298 points, while a Gerard O'Donnell calf injury, picked up in the long-jump, left Aston to cruise to victory with a tally of 3,720.

Irish Independent

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