Dublin Marathon: Belfast runner Scullion second in personal best time

By John HaugheyBBC Sport NI
Stephen Scullion
Stephen Scullion shows his delight after crossing the finishing line in Dublin

Belfast's Stephen Scullion produced the race of his life to boost his Olympic prospects as he finished second in the Dublin Marathon in a personal best.

Scullion's new Northern Ireland record of two hours, 12 minutes and one second cut two minutes and 33 seconds off his previous fastest mark.

His time is 31 seconds outside the IAAF's Tokyo standard but could prove enough to qualify him on world ranking.

Morocco's Othmane El Goumri won the race in a new Dublin record of 2:08.06.

El Goumri's time cut 27 seconds off the previous record set by Kenya's Geoffrey Ndunga in 2011 and earned him an £8,600 bonus in addition to his first prize of almost £10,500.

The Dublin event also doubled as the Irish national championship which 30-year-old Scullion secured as he cut one minute and five seconds off the Northern Ireland record set by Greg Hannon 40 years ago.

Gladys Ganiel, women's Irish title winner Aoife Cooke and Ann-Marie McGlynn on the podium
Gladys Ganiel, women's Irish title winner Aoife Cooke and Ann-Marie McGlynn on the podium

McGlynn smashes through previous PB

Letterkenny athlete Ann-Marie McGlynn also put herself in the Olympic Games conversation after clocking 2:32:54 - cutting more than six minutes off her previous PB - to finish as the second Irish woman.

The women's Olympic standard is 2:29.30 but once again, times shy of that could be enough to put athletes in Tokyo contention under the complex new qualifying system.

Strabane-based McGlynn's time is also a new Northern Ireland record as the Offaly woman's performance betters Teresa Duffy's 2001 mark of 2:35.27 by two minutes and 33 seconds.

Corkwoman Aoife Cooke finished 20 seconds ahead of McGlynn to win the women's Irish title with North Belfast's Gladys Ganiel also setting a new personal best in 2:36.42 to take third in the national race.

Ganiel's time cut one minute and 13 seconds off her previous mark set in Berlin two years ago.

Ethiopia's Motu Gefeda took overall women's victory in 2:27.48 which also secured her the £8,600 bonus on offer for the leading female who went under 2:30.

Scullion back in action after Doha

Men's winner El Goumri was the fastest in the field having clocked clocked 2:08:20 in Rabat in April - nine months after returning from a two-year ban for irregularities in his biological passport.

Remarkably, Scullion was back in action only three weeks after competing in the World Championship marathon in Doha.

Like many, the Irish athlete suffered in the conditions in the Middle East but the autumn temperatures in a sunny Dublin were much more to Scullion's liking as he moved to fifth on his country's all-time Irish list by producing the fastest Irish performance since Mark Carroll's 2:10.54 in New York 17 years ago.

Additional Olympic bonus points are on offer for competitors who compete in their national championships and Scullion will hope that this will also work in his favour in terms of his Tokyo prospects.

The Clonliffe Harrier went faster over the second half of the race after reaching the midway point in 1:06.44.

Dublin Marathon action
A section of elite runners in action during Sunday's Dublin Marathon

Scullion was actually 20 seconds ahead of El Goumri at that stage but the Moroccan ran his second half in one hour and three minutes to take a stranglehold on the race.

Ethiopian Mengistu Zelalem and compatriot, last year's winner's Asefa Bekele, occupied third and fourth positions in 2:12.05 and 2:13.02.

Rio Olympic Mick Clohisey joined Scullion in achieving a personal best as he finished sixth overall in 2:13.19 - one minute and 36 seconds faster than his previous mark - while Ballina's Hugh Armstrong clocked 2:14.22 to place third in the national event as he moved into the top-20 in the Irish all-time list.

Leitrim-born Rio Olympian Breege Connolly, now competing for City of Derry Spartans, clocked 2:38.27 to finish 15th in the women's race.

Kildare man Patrick Monaghan won the wheelchair title after coming home in 1:39.46.

Mitchell improves half marathon PB

Emma Mitchell improved her half marathon personal best by over two minutes in an impressive run in Valencia on Sunday.

The Northern Irishwoman clocked 72 minutes and 28 seconds to finish 12th in a strong women's field.

Mitchell's time cut two minutes and 10 seconds off her previous mark set at last year's Great North Run.

After missing this year's London Marathon because of injury, Mitchell, 26, now looks to have regained form.

The field included new 1500m world record holder Sifan Hassan, who had to settle for second place in 65:53 after finishing 21 seconds behind Ethiopia's Senbere Terefi, with Kenya's Joan Chelimo taking third in 66:09.

American athlete Molly Huddle placed sixth in 69:35 with Britain's Lily Patridge coming in 30 seconds ahead of Mitchell in 11th spot.

Capping a remarkable day for Northern Ireland distance running was a Guinness world record set by Maghera man and 1992 Olympian Tommy Hughes and his son Eoin as they clocked times of 2:27.52 and 2:31.30 at the Frankfurt Marathon to take more nearly three minutes off the existing combined mark for a father and son in the same race.

Fifty-nine-year-old Tommy's time was less than 14 minutes slower than his personal best set in 1992 - the year he represented Ireland at the Barcelona Olympics.

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