Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Scullion's Titanic effort pays off

Titanic Quarter 10k

Stephen Scullion crosses the line to win the Titanic 10k Road Race in Belfast
Stephen Scullion crosses the line to win the Titanic 10k Road Race in Belfast

Stephen Scullion was in a class of his own in the big Titanic 10K Road Race where he enjoyed an easy victory against another impressive field of 1,400 runners.

The recently crowned Irish 10K champion was in command from an early stage yesterday when he had only Annadale's Eddie McGinley and City of Derry's Declan Reid for company.

At the 5K mark the Belfast ace ignored the buffeting wind and broke away for what turned into a solo run in the latter half of the race. He crossed the line for a convincing 34 secs win over McGinley in a time of 30 mins 42 secs, which was marginally slower than his previous winn in 2011.

McGinley repeated his runner up position of last year with a time of 31.16. Reid was a distant third in 32.28 followed by Richard Johnston of City of Derry and Scott Rankin of Foyle Valley.

Afterwards, 24 year old Scullion said he felt he had a good run although he realised the disruptive wind would prevent him from becoming the first Northern Ireland runner to break 30 minutes for 10k.

The south Belfast man added that he was able to relax in the race, encouraged by the fact he has been performing consistently well this year.

He also said he would like to know quickly as to whether he is to be selected by Ireland for the European 10,000m in Bulgaria on June 8. Scullion said he he needed good notice in order to refine his training regime.

McGinley said he was frustrated by the strong wind which, along with his third place in the Irish 10k, was consistently preventing him from achieving a fast time.

In the ladies race there was a reversal of last year's result when Tullamore's Pauline Curley took the honours in 36 mins 29 secs just ahead of Dromore's Julie Turley (36.36). Former Olympic marathon runner Curley would have faced a tougher challenge from Turley had the Dromore woman not suffered a torn calf muscle in December which cost her 10 weeks training. North Down's Julie Balmer took third in 38.31

Meanwhile in the London Marathon, North Belfast's Breege Connolly produced another superb run when she achieved a 2014 Commonwealth Games selection guideline target of 2 hrs 40 mins. Breege's time of 2 hrs 39 mins 23 secs beat her previous best, set in Rotterdam, by almost a minute and reflects her consistent trend of producing improving times.

Team mate Gladys Ganiel was some 40 secs ahead of Connolly at the halfway stage but then faded to finish in a time of 2 hrs 42 mins 35 secs.

Annadale's Paul Pollock made a determined effort to impress the Irish selectors for this summer's World Championships when he scorched through the half marathon point in 66 mins 13 secs.

He, inevitably, slowed in the second half to finish in 14th overall place with a time of 2 hrs 17 mins 10 secs.

This was the second best time by a British Isles athlete behind Scotland's Derek Hawkins (2.16.51)

The men's race was won by Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede in 2.06.04 while Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya took the women's title in 2.20.15.

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