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Rio Olympics: Paul Pollock just misses target but finishes with head held high

By James Toney

Paul Pollock just missed his top 30 target after a difficult day at the Olympic marathon in Rio.

Pollock crossed the line almost eight minutes behind the winner in 2:16.24.

Grey skies, cool temperatures and light drizzle must have reminded him of home too, as Kenyan favourite Eliud Kipchoge, who won in London this year, dominated the race to take gold.

Pollock (29) set a personal best of 2:15.38 in the Berlin Marathon last September and finished 14th at the World Half Marathon in Cardiff in March, with Mo Farah the only European ahead of him.

"I was looking for a decent finish and I would have liked a personal best but it wasn't to be," said the former junior doctor at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

"I've given up so much for this, putting my career on hold and having to come through all the injury problems. I'm just very proud to be able to call myself an Olympian."

Pollock was the top Irish finisher as team-mate Kevin Seaward finished 64th in 2:20.08 and Mick Clohissey came home just outside the top 100, in 103rd, clocking 2:26.34.

Meanwhile, Irish triathlete Aileen Reid banished her London 2012 memories with a 21st place in the women's triathlon in Rio.

Four years ago Reid headed into the Olympic Games with many considering her a genuine medal contender.

A bike crash scuppered those hopes though before she battled back to finish 43rd - and the 34-year-old was determined to improve on that this time around in Rio.

But illness last winter meant expectations levels had been scaled back, as American Gwen Jorgensen delivered on her pre-race favourite tag to take gold.

"I put everything in there that I could, I can only be happy with that," she said.

"I didn't really have a number in mind because anything can happen in a race. I always said that if I put it all in and wherever I finish, then wherever I finished.

"I think I put myself in the best position and I gave it everything so I can only be happy. I can honestly say I put in an effort on the bike and I'm not sure too many other people did. I haven't had the greatest year - that's an ok result for me."

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