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London Marathon: Stephen Scullion's hopes of qualifying for a second Olympics are dashed

Stephen Scullion in action in the Dublin Marathon in 2019
Stephen Scullion represented Ireland in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics [Inpho]

Stephen Scullion's hopes of qualifying for a second Olympic Games were dashed as he clocked 2:16.04 to finish 13th at the London Marathon.

The Belfast man, 35, needed to run 2:08.10 or finish in the top five to book his place in Paris.

It was always going to be a tall order with Scullion's personal best of 2:09.49 set in London four years ago.

Scullion went to halfway in 1:06.18 and particularly struggled over the closing miles as he admitted after the race.

"Tough day for me at London Marathon," said the Tokyo Olympian on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"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."

It was Scullion's first marathon outing since finishing third in the Dublin Marathon in late October when he clocked his second ever fastest time of 2:11.51.

He dropped out of the Lisbon Half-Marathon last month and his build-up was also hindered by a blister he picked up on a recent long training run.

Tipperary man Sean Tobin was also chasing Olympic qualification but after reaching halfway in 1:05.37, he dropped out between the 35km and 40km mark.

Kenya's Alexander Mutiso Munyao held off Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele by 14 seconds to win the men's race in 2:04:01.

The British duo of Emile Cairess [2:06.46] and Mahamed Mahamed [2:07.05] were inside the Paris standard as they finished third and fourth.

In the women's race, Kenya's Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir took victory in a women's only world-record time of 2:16.16.

Ethiopia's world record holder Tigst Assefa [2:16.23], Kenya's Joyciline Jepkosgei [2:16.24] and Megertu Alemu [2:16.34], also of Ethiopia also beat the previous women's only record of 2:17:01, set by Mary Keitany in 2017.

Assefa set her world record of 2:11.53 at last year's Berlin Marathon.