The 33 year-old from Belfast produced the best Irish finish in some years when the Dublin Marathon was last staged in 2019, running 2:12.01 to finish second outright.
Paul Pollock, also racing in Rotterdam after competing in Tokyo, was on course for a 2:12 clocking around halfway, before dropping out shortly before 35km. Tokyo Ethiopia’s Haven Hailu won the women’s race in 2:22:01.
For now, the only male Irish qualifier for those upcoming marathons is fellow Belfast runner Kevin Seaward, who clocked 2:11.54 when finishing third in Manchester last Sunday, the second fastest time of his life, at age 36.
John Treacy’s Irish marathon record of 2:09:15 stretches back to Boston in 1988, although Scullion has come close before, with his 2:09:49 run in London in October 2020.
Scullion dropped out of the Tokyo Olympic marathon last August after some difficult preparations, the returned to race the Boston Marathon two months later, running 2:22:57 in a race he admitted “really hurt”.
When Scullion’s chosen model of shoes failed to comply, he was forced to borrow a pair and race in them instead, the ill-fitting size only causing a real problem later in the race.
“Rotterdam was fabulous until about 37km and my poor feet went numb,” he commented afterwards.
“Tried to run faster than ever today, had some issues with shoes being approved [World Athletics regulations], and had to borrow some, sadly they were too small, very last-minute stress morning of the race.
He still managed to finish in 2:14:32, unfortunately just two seconds short of the qualifying time for the European Championships in Munich in August.
Conditions on the day were ideal, Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Abdi Nageeye winning in 2:04:56, taking more than a minute off the Dutch record he set here in 2019, and for Scullion the long-standing Irish marathon record of 2:09:15 might have been there for the taking.