Olympic Marathon qualifier for Pollock, strong debut for Mitchell and all the action from across Ireland too. Lindie Naughton brings you the Irish weekend round-up.

Paul Pollock of Annadale Striders ran a superb time of 2 hrs 10 mins 17 secs at the Valencia Marathon in Spain on Sunday morning (December 1).

It knocked over five minutes off his previous best and moves him ahead of Mark Carroll into second place on the all-time Irish list behind John Treacy who ran 2:09.56 at the 1984 LA Olympics (in 1988 Treacy ran 2:09.15 in Boston which does not count for record purposes). Carroll ran 2:10.54 in 2002.

It had been a tough year for Pollock who was diagnosed with a broken bone in his foot in September. His previous best for the marathon was a time of 2:15.30 which he ran in Oita Japan in 2017. That followed an impressive 62:46 for the half marathon in the previous year. His debut marathon came in Dublin in 2012 when he won the national title with a time of 2:16.30.

In her marathon debut, Emma Mitchell, now with Clonliffe Harriers, ran a time of 2:36.47. Mitchell must like the Spanish coastal city as she ran a half marathon best in the October sun of 72:28 and showed she has plenty of potential over the longer distance too.

Gary O’Hanlon didn’t break 2:20 this time round, but still a strong out for the Irish 50k record holder with 2:20:07.

Overall race winner in Valencia was Kinde Atanaw Alayew of Ethiopia in a course record time of 2:03:51. Finishing seventh in 2:06:17 was Sonde Nordstad Moen of Norway. First woman was Roza Dereje of Ethiopia in 2:18:30 also a course record.

Ultra running Eoin Keith wins big in Oman

Dublin-based ultra runner Eoin Keith has won the UTMB Oman – a two-day, 170km race through the Al Hajar mountain range (December 1).

Keith finished in 36 hours, 4 minutes and 29 seconds. The course included steep ascents of Jebel Akhdar, known as the Green Mountain, and Jebel Shams which, at 3,000m, is one of the highest points on the Arabian peninsula.

“It was so technical, possibly the most technical race I’ve ever done. There was a long 1,000m descent where you normally would expect to make up tons of time but we were so slow. You needed to concentrate pretty much the entire time, said Keith after he finished.

Check out the personalised race number from the organisers!

Happy 50th Catherina!

Irish women’s marathon record holder Catherina McKiernan marked her 50th birthday on Saturday (November 30) by finishing first woman at the Clonakilty Waterfront 10km in Co Cork. McKiernan finished in 38 mins 33 secs; race winner was Niall McCarthy in 35:57.

Winning the associated half marathon was Clonliffe’s Sergiu Ciobanu in 73:45, with Niall Shiel of St Killian’s AC second and first M40 in 74:25. Angela McCann of Clonmel AC was first woman in 845.04. Also taking place was a marathon with Freddy Sittuk in 2:47.23 and Ann Curley of Donore Harriers in 3:18.55 the winners.

Defending champion Ben Branagh of St Malachy’s led home over 800 finishers at the annual Seeley Cup 10km in Belfast on Saturday (November 30).

Branagh’s time of 30 mins 25 secs put him seven seconds clear of Christopher Madden from City of Lisburn AC, third last year, who moved up a place and finished second in 30.32. Third in 30:42 was Conall Kirk of Annadale Striders. North Belfast Harriers, led by Conan McCaughey fifth place, were first team, finishing comfortably clear of Acorns AC and Annadale Striders.

First woman was Ann-Marie McGlynn in 33 mins 41 secs. Her Letterkenny AC clubmate Nakita Burke, the winner last year, was second in 34:37 with Jessica Craig of North Down AC third in 35:14. In the team competition, North Down AC came out on top followed by East Down AC and North Belfast Harriers.

Derese keeps winning times rolling

Yared Derese of Carrick Aces AC stretched his winning streak with victory in the Wild Goose Chase 10km in Reaghstown clocking a time of 30 mins 15 secs for the tough and hilly course. A distant second was Pauric Ennis of Tullamore Harriers in 34:13. First woman was Claire O’Malley in 41:21. Winners of the 5km were James Lynch and Abbie Sheridan.

Winners of the Belleek 10km in Co Mayo on Sunday (December 1) were Brendan Conway of Westport AC in 32mins 29 secs and Norah Newcombe Pieterse of Mayo AC in 37:32.

Also on Sunday, Adam Kiely of Leevale AC and Brenda Gaffney of Mallow AC were the winners of the inaugural Douglas Credit Union 5km held at Tramore Valley Park in Cork City. Their times were 15:49 and 18:26 respectively.

Photo: Lindie Naughton

Cross country

On a cold but sunny day at Tymon Park, Tallaght, Sinead Murray of host club Rathfarnham WSAF and Mathieu Profitt of Donore Harriers were the winners of the Dublin Intermediate Cross-Country Championships (Sunday December 1).

Murray pushed the pace form the start of the women’s 5km, and although Sarah Quigley of Shamrock AC was on her heels for the entire race, she got to the line with a second to spare in 20 mins 33 secs.

In third place with a time of 20:50 was Niamh Corbett of Raheny Shamrock, a member of the Irish orienteering squad. The team competition couldn’t have been closer with Clonliffe Harriers beating Rathfarnham WSAF AC by a single point. Donore Harriers finished third.

Photo: Lindie Naughton

A comfortable winner of the men’s 8km was Matthieu Proffitt of Donore Harriers who finished in 28 mins 5 secs; Proffitt had finished sixth in the race last year. Kevin Donagher of Rathfarnham WSAF AC was second in 28:14 and Eoin Devlin of Civil Service Harriers third in 28.27. Donore, with four in the top 15, was first team beating Crusaders AC and Raheny Shamrock.

Pat Hennessy of West Waterford AC won the men’s title at the Munster Intermediate Cross-Country Championships, held in Two-Mile Borris, Thurles, Co Tipperary on Sunday (December 1).

John Kinsella of Bilboa AC was second and Michael Harrington of Durrus ACC third, with Clonmel the winning team from Limerick AC and Dundrum AC.

Sinead O’Driscoll of Midleton Ac won the women’s race from Orla Byrne of St Finbarr’s AC and Andrea Bickerdike of Leevale AC. Ennis Track Club was first team., followed by Clonmel AC and St Finbarr’s AC.

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Lindie Naughton is a journalist and writer based in Dublin who joined the athletics club at her college many many years ago and has never quite escaped. You’ll normally find her jogging around some orienteering course somewhere – or down at the Irishtown track coaching kiddies!