Ireland’s Stephen Scullion sees Olympic marathon hopes end after 13th-place finish in London

Kenya’s Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir sets new a new world record in a women’s-only race

It was, by his own admission, a “tough day” at the London Marathon, and with that Stephen Scullion’s hopes of qualifying for a second Olympics have ended.

The 35-year-old from Belfast, who has a marathon best of 2:09:22 from the 2020 London Marathon, finished 13th in 2:16:06, outside the Paris automatic qualifying standard 2:08:10.

Victory went to Alexander Mutiso Munyao from Kenya, who edged ahead of the 41-year-old Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia in the last five kilometres, winning in 2:04:01 to Bekele’s 2:04:15

“Tough day for me,” Scullion said afterwards. “Thanks for all the cheers, and I wouldn’t have finished without the crowds or people cheering and if I’m honest all those who support me from afar. You can’t give people advice to never quit ‘find a way’ and quit yourself. I’m sad but proud.”


Also among the elite field were Hiko Tonosa Haso and Sean Tobin; Haso passed halfway in 63:39, Tobin further back in 65:36, before both dropped out around 35km. Martin Hoare, best Irish finisher in the 2022 Dublin marathon, finished 25th in 2:22:59.

The women’s race was won by Kenya’s Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, who also broke Mary Keitany’s women’s only world record of 2:17:01 with a stunning her winning time of 2:16:16, ahead of mixed world record-holder Tigist Assefa from Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, Rhasidat Adeleke had her first individual race of the outdoor season at the Mt Sac Relays in California, finishing second in a high quality international 200 metres in 22.61 seconds.

Though short of her Irish record of 22.34 set in Florida in April of last year, Adeleke finished just .03 behind Texas training partner Julien Alfred from St Lucia, who recently won the World Indoor 60m title, with Britain’s 2019 World Champion Dina Asher-Smith, also part of the training group, third in 22.80.

Earlier, Adeleke ran the second leg of an international 4x100m quartet which won impressively in 42.03.

Adeleke will next turn her focus to the women’s 4x400m relay and the mixed 4x400m relay at next month’s World Athletics Relays, set for Nassau in the Bahamas on the weekend of May 4th, with Paris Olympic qualification on the line.

The top 14 teams in each event qualify for Paris, Adeleke part of the 11-strong Irish squad making the trip. Sharlene Mawdsley will also feature in both events, after anchoring both relay teams at the World Championships last summer, and part of the women’s team that finished fifth at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March.

Thomas Barr will also set aside his hurdles ambitions to help the qualification cause, as he did for Tokyo. Cillin Greene, Jack Raftery and Christopher O’Donnell complete the men’s squad, Phil Healy, Sophie Becker, Roisin Harrison, Lauren Cadden and Rachal McCann also on the women’s squad.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics