Belfast Telegraph

McGinley aiming to be the cream of NI talent

All eyes will be on former Deep RiverRock Belfast Marathon winner Joel Kipsang of Kenya and the usual collection of other quality Africans on Monday.

However, Annadale's Eddie McGinley is determined not only to be the first local athlete across the line but also to make a top-six placing and achieve a fast time.

Belfast will be 32-year-old McGinley's third marathon following strong performances in Dublin over the past two years. He had originally planned to race in the recent Hamburg Marathon but changed his schedule in favour of Belfast.

He explained: "My training earlier this year had been affected by illness which meant I wasn't covering the high mileage that I wanted.

"However, things are now progressing well and I have recently been covering upwards of 100 miles a week.

"I will just let the African guys do their own thing as I will be concentrating on my race. I will hopefully be getting some support in the early stages from runners I have trained with who will be competing in the Marathon Relay."

With regard to local standards and how they are sometimes perceived, he wryly observed: "Local runners don't get the credit they deserve. Ours is the only sport where we are constantly compared with professional athletes operating at world level.

"I am an amateur with a job sometimes racing against some of the best in the world. It is like an amateur football player in Belfast being compared to the likes of Messi and Ronaldo."

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