MICHAEL Conlan completed the Manchester Marathon on Sunday, but he has confirmed his race is not run as a professional boxer.

The Falls Road man took his time to make a decision as to his future in the ring after losing to Jordan Gill at the SSE Arena last December, but in recent weeks he finally had his answer as the desire to get back to boxing returned.

Completing the gruelling 26.2 mile course in under three hours was his target and he did just that, finishing in a time of 2:55:46.

Along with friend and former boxer David McComb, Conlan decided to take the plunge, joining Roadrunners AC and coached by Noel McNally who helped build towards the gruelling task ahead.

He was also juggling his commitments as a boxing manager, missing out on some key sessions when with his fighter Kevin Cronin who fought in Boston on St Patrick’s weekend, but continued to work towards his goal in the background and got his reward on Sunday.

“It’s a different pain than boxing,” he said on Monday.

“Running takes up a lot of time, but I couldn’t have been with a better group or better people. They are so committed and dedicated, all for the joy of running.

“Doing that has helped me find my way in terms of what I wanted to do next (in boxing), so I’m really I happy I’ve done it and did the time I said I wanted to do.

“I ran the Brighton Half Marathon last year in one hour and 24 (minutes) with no training and four hours sleep after Aaron (Chalmers) from Geordie Shore fought Mayweather when I did his corner. I said then I would do a full marathon in under three hours after I finished boxing, but I did it in-between and now I’m happy to get back to what I want to do. I enjoy pain and hard work, but that was a different kind of hard work.”

From the turn of the year, running in Manchester was the only thing occupying his mind in terms of athletic activity.

There had been plenty of speculation whether he would decide to hang up his gloves after the Gill defeat or box on, but it was only in recent weeks when it became clear that he wished to continue in his quest for world honours inside the ring.

In the wake of that December loss, his second in as many fights having fallen short in his second world featherweight title bid against Luis Alberto Lopez last May, plenty were quick to offer their opinion as to what he should do. But Conlan has always been a single-minded man and that hasn’t changed.

“It was just a desire and a belief in what I know I can still do,” he insists.

“There have been people saying ‘he needs saved from himself’ but that’s a load of shit - I have people around me who would step in if they thought that was the case.

“The last time (against Gill) there was so much going on outside the ring, family and personal things, so my mindset wasn’t right and I shouldn’t have been boxing. Not so much the Lopez loss as that just wasn’t meant to be but I probably got back too soon to take my mind off things.

“I went into a fight with seven weeks training and a new coach after a stoppage loss, so I shouldn’t have been in the ring as mentally, I wasn’t there. Was that performance a true reflection of me?

“People are saying ‘he’s shop-worn, can’t take a shot’ but that’s nonsense. I was flying in that training camp, sparring Cuban light-welterweights and doing well, but on the night there were so many intangibles and personal things I’m not going to air publicly.

“It’s just life but if you looked at me in there, you’d say that’s not Mick Conlan as I don’t box like that or get hit with those kinds of shots.

“I can pinpoint things, but I won’t. I’m just going to focus on me and not worry about what anyone says. I’m ready to just go and prove to myself, nor to fans or haters, but for me.”

Conlan took time to ponder his future after December’s loss to Jordan Gill

Conlan took time to ponder his future after December’s loss to Jordan Gill

There is no rush to get into a training camp and insists that won’t happen “this side of summer” as he is planning on some time away and a house move that is a major priority for the fighter and his young family.

When he does return to the gym, he is keeping his options open as to where and is not rushing his ring return, provisionally eyeing October or November and possibly away from home to give him the space to rebuild without the added pressure of being a headline attraction.

His goals remain the same, however, as the 2015 world amateur champion is adamant he wants to add a world professional title and not just come back for the sake of it.

“I’m 32 now, so I’m no spring chicken, but I believe I still have the ability,” he continued, also confirming he will return to featherweight having faced Gill at 130lbs.

“The time away from the ring has done me the world of good, away from boxing, sparring and only recently I’ve thrown a punch and that was some shadowboxing when I made the decision (to continue).

“I’m doing this because I have something to prove to myself. I can’t change anyone’s opinion but then I don’t care.

“My goal is still world titles and I’m not coming back for anything less or to just get a win back. If I really wanted, I could just go and get a win to finish on, but I want to do what I set out to.”