Dublin Marathon: Athletics Ireland confirm eligibility of club athletes

Kenyan-born runner Freddy Sittuk will not be eligible under residency rule

After last year's dispute and some confusion, Athletics Ireland have confirmed the eligibility of club athletes contesting the national title which comes with being the first Irish finisher in Sunday's Dublin marathon.

Defending champion Gary O'Hanlon from Clonliffe Harriers originally finished second on the day in last year's race behind Kenyan-born runner Freddy Sittuk, who has lived and trained in Ireland for the last number of years, representing Raheny Shamrock.

Sittuk was declared Irish champion, only for Athletics Ireland to revise the result three days later, after discovering Sittuk had failed to meet the required criteria for eligibility under the residency rule.

Under the rule agreed by the delegates at the 2016 Athletics Ireland Congress, an athlete is only eligible to compete for the national championships title and medal positions “with an unbroken six months residency in Ireland immediately prior to the championship.”


Sittuk had returned to his native Kenya in the weeks before Dublin, and has again failed to meet that criteria this year, which means he won’t be eligible for the title again this Sunday.

O’Hanlon was thus declared the slightly belated Irish marathon champion, his first such title, which he will defend on Sunday, just over six weeks after running 2:19:06 in Berlin. Sittuk will also race again, and even if not contesting the Irish title, isn’t racing as well as last year, when he ran 2:16:05 for fourth overall; O’Hanlon also ran a personal best of 2:18:52 last year, 11th overall.

Also representing Dunboyne AC is the Kenyan-born Peter Somba, who won the Limerick half-marathon earlier this year, but like Sittuk is not eligible for the national prize. Now 44, O'Hanlon's main opposition is likely to be Mick Clohisey, the Rio Olympian making his Dublin debut, who has a best of 2:14:55 from Seville earlier this year, and is coached by three-time former Dublin marathon winner Dick Hooper.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

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