Paul Pollock ready to tackle race of his life
Paul Pollock will take the start line in the most important contest of his career tomorrow.
Along with Northern Ireland partner Kevin Seaward from St Malachy's and Raheny's Mick Clohissey he will represent Ireland in the marathon and the trio will be hoping to achieve personal bests despite the anticipated high temperatures.
However the 29-year-old Annadale star's journey to the start line has been far from straightforward.
There was an appeal against his selection by Clonliffe's Sergiu Ciobanu on the grounds that his own marathon time was 24 seconds faster. Ciobanu's appeal was turned down and Pollock was finally given the green light.
There is little doubt that Holywood doctor Pollock is the best distance runner in Ireland. His best marathon time of 2.15.38 does not reflect his true potential as it was achieved when nursing an injury. He has proved his ability at the highest level as shown by an outstanding 21st place in the World Championships in Moscow three years ago.
In the World Half Marathon in Cardiff last March he was the first European-born finisher, in 14th place. He was also the first Irish finisher in the recent European Half Marathon in Amsterdam.
Pollock will be hoping to emulate team-mate Fionnuala McCormack's outstanding 20th place in last Sunday's Rio women's marathon.
North Belfast 29-year-old Seaward was 34th in the Amsterdam race.