Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders AC) and Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny AC) were impressive winners of Sunday’s National Half Marathon Titles at the Woodies DIY Half Marathon Challenge in Athenry, Galway. The event took place in hot and humid conditions on a tough undulating course, making it a grueling experience for all the athletes involved.
With a field of close to 500 hundred athletes taking to the start line, national titles were always going to be hard to come by.
In the men’s race, Pollock was well placed over the first 6 miles, with Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers AC), Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers AC) and Sean Hehir (Rathfarnham WSAF) in close attendance. When the leading runners hit the 7 mile mark Pollock picked up the pace and made the decisive break. Pollock continued to put on the pressure and secured victory in 64.17.
Commenting afterwards Pollock said “I am delighted with that, training has been going very well for the last while and that pace felt easy. The next target for me is the World Half Marathon Championships in October and the European Cross Country Championships in December”
Ciobanu crossed the line in second place in a time of 66.47, with defending champion Hehir placing third in 67.05. Ciobanu, although disappointed with his individual result, led Clonliffe Harriers AC to victory in the team title ahead of City of Derry AC and Rathfarnham WSAF AC.
Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny AC) was the class of the women’s field as she took the national title in 75.25. McCambridge was out on her own from the start and her time was good enough for 36th place overall.
Commenting afterwards McCambridge said “I really felt that today, I could feel the 10 mile race from last week in my legs. The course was quite undulating and the conditions were hot. The target is the Dublin marathon in 8 weeks time.”
Barbara Cleary (Donore Harriers AC) and Barbara Sanchez (Raheny Shamrock AC) battled it out for the silver and bronze medals. Sanchez was in second place for the first 7 miles; however Cleary had other ideas and continued to apply the pressure. Cleary was rewarded for her gutsy performance with a silver medal in a time of 77.17. Sanchez battled all the way to the line, taking the bronze medal in 77.27.
Cleary had the added bonus of leading Donore Harriers AC to victory in the team category, ahead of Raheny Shamrock AC and Clonliffe Harriers AC