Paul Pollock has run the fastest marathon by an Irishman in 31 years, the 33-year-old smashing his personal best in Valencia to clock 2:10:25, which was a Northern Irish record. The race was won by Ethiopia’s Kinde Alayew in 2:03:51.
Pollock’s previous best was the 2:15:30 he ran in Oita, Japan, in 2017, but it was clear early in today’s race that he was on course for something special. He passed 10K in 30:49 and halfway in 1:05:05, eventually crossing the line 18th in the world-class field.
His time was well below the automatic qualifying standard for next year’s Olympics (2:11:30) and moved Pollock to second on the all-time Irish list behind John Treacy, who clocked 2:09:15 in Boston in 1988.
Emma Mitchell also turned in a strong performance, the 26-year-old clocking 2:36:49 in her debut marathon, which makes her the fifth-fastest Irishwoman in 2019. The qualifying standard for the women’s Olympic marathon is 2:29:30.
While it appears all 80 places in the men’s race will be filled by automatic time qualifiers, on the women’s side there will likely be multiple spots available via the world rankings, with places offered to the highest-ranked athletes at the end of the qualification window next June.