Annadale's Paul Pollock set to lead Ireland in Cardiff
Three local athletes are part of a strong five-man Irish team in this weekend's World Half Marathon Championship in Cardiff.
The team will be led by Annadale's Paul Pollock and the race is of critical importance to the 29-year-old Holywood man in his preparations to make the Irish team for this summer's Olympic marathon in Rio.
He considers that a good performance in Cardiff will augur well for next month's London Marathon where he must gain a time faster than 2hrs 15mins 14secs which is the third fastest Irish time currently held by Clonliffe's Sergiu Ciobanu.
As only three athletes will travel to Brazil, Pollock must overtake that time to qualify for Rio. He is confident that he can achieve this time, which is only 24secs faster than his personal best.
Pollock will be supported by Cardiff-based Kevin Seaward of St Malachy's who will take full advantage of his local knowledge.
The 29-year-old is under a lot less pressure than Pollock regarding Rio selection as he has currently the fastest Irish Marathon time of 2hrs 14mins 52secs. Raheny's Mick Clohisey and Ciobanu are also racing.
The team is completed by Thomas Frazer who is yet another former Belfast runner now based in the United States.
The 34-year-old St Malachy's man who was fourth in the Belfast Marathon in 2013 is running better than ever as shown by his performance in Rotterdam last year when he equalled his PB of 2.17.45.
Leevale's Lizzie Lee is the only representative in the women's race.
The prestigious World Half Marathon returns to Cardiff where the original event was held in 1992 when Liz McColgan triumphed.
The British Men's team this year is led by double Olympic champion Mo Farah.