Pollock burnt off by Ndungu
When Pollock hit the front at eight miles, leading the charge out of the Phoenix Park and briefly running 100 metres clear, it seemed inevitable he would pay a high price, or worse: instead, he stuck to his task even when the group of 10 East Africans passed him just a couple of miles later, then moved clear themselves, passing halfway in 67:04 – with Pollock isolated about 20 seconds back.
“It went out slowly,” he explained, “and I’d always planned to go for about five-minute, 5:05 pace, and everyone was sitting about 5:10 pace, so I thought I might as well take it on, see how long I could hold out for, just give it a blast.
“I wanted to go out at 66-minute half pace, and realised we were quite far down on that time. I was hoping maybe one or two other people would come with me, we’d get a wee group going, but sadly not, and I just kind of died a wee bit when all the Africans passed me by. I held on until about 20 miles, then the pain started to kick in, and the last six miles were a struggle. But for my first marathon I have to be happy enough, found it a good experience.”
Pollock also credited the Dublin Marathon Mission, set up three years ago to improve Irish standards in the event, for convincing him to take on the distance so soon, and also credited his fellow doctors at the Royal Hospital for allowing some breathing space to train. He did benefit from a year of full-time running last year, when based in London, where he linked up with his current coach Andy Hobdell: it might only be a matter of time now before Pollock runs his first championship marathon for Ireland, but in the meantime he hopes to be part of the Irish team at the European Cross Country in December.
For Ndungu, conditions were “too cold” to press for the Dublin course record of 2:08:33 which he set last year, although at least it was calm and dry, so he simply bided his time as the race unfolded, and when it came down to a trio of himself, Kipchumba and Abdisa Bedada from Ethiopia at around 19 miles, he then made one decisive surge inside the final two miles down Merrion Road, with 18 seconds to spare at the finish – to secure €15,000.