Scullion starts as favourite in massive half marathon field
STEPHEN Scullion, who was the first winner of the Deep River Rock Belfast City Half Marathon, is the marginal favourite for Sunday’s event (Ormeau Park, 9am) which has a huge entry of 3,500.
Four years ago, Scullion decimated the opposition to record a clear victory by over a minute from Annadale’s Eddie McGinley.
However, this weekend he faces a serious challenge from last year’s winner Freddy Sittuk of Kenya, who also took the title in 2014. The result of this fascinating battle is hard to predict but, on recent form, 28-year-old Scullion should have the edge.
In the three years prior to last spring, Scullion rarely raced and indeed had contemplated giving up the sport. However, the highly talented athlete then came back with a vengeance to record an impressive personal best of 2 hrs 18 mins in April’s London Marathon. Then last month he won the Frank Duffy 10 miles in Dublin in a fast 50 mins 36 secs.
Scullion maintained this excellent form with a superb 14th place in last Sunday’s Great North Run in 65 mins 52 secs, which is his second fastest ever behind his Omagh Half win in 2013 of 64.46.
Sittuk is no stranger to the province with a Belfast Marathon victory in 2014 plus those two wins in the Belfast Half.
In the ladies race Willowfield’s Amy Bulman starts as favourite.