South Belfast's Stephen Scullion ran the race of his life in yesterday's London Marathon where he finished 12th for a personal best time of 2 hours 15 minutes 55 seconds.
This ensured that the 29-year-old was second British finisher behind Mo Farah whose third place time of 2.06.21 took 52 seconds off Steve Jones' long-standing 1985 British record .
Scullion ran an even-paced race where temperatures of up to 25 degrees took their toll on a number of elite runners. His first half time of 67 mins 48 secs was followed by a second half only 19 seconds slower. At the finish he was two minutes ahead of GB's Jonny Mellor (2.17.55).
London is clearly a happy hunting ground for Clonliffe's Scullion as he set his previous PB on this course a year ago. The highly talented athlete is now finally beginning to realise his proper potential after several years dabbling in different events.
Of equal significance is that Scullion's time is within the qualification mark of 2 hours 17 minutes for this summer's European marathon in Berlin. The top three male and female Irish qualification times are now dominated by athletes from the North.
Scullion joins Paul Pollock (2.15.30) and recent fourth finisher in the Commonwealth Marathon Kevin Seward (2.15.50). The top three females who have met the 2 hours 38 minutes requirement are Laura Graham (2.37.05), Breege Connolly (2.37.29) and Gladys Ganiel (2.37.55) .
There was an impressive debut marathon for Newcastle's Eoghan Totton. The Oxford University man was timed at 2.26.32 for eighth place in the non-elite field.
In London, the men's race was won as expected by Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge (2.04.17) from Tola Kitata of Ethiopia ( 2.04.49).
Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot took the Women's title in a PB of 2.18.31 from Brigid Koskei (2.20.13.) Top British finisher in eighth place was Lily Partridge (2.29.24).