Breaking records

Breaking records

29 July 2020

CIARA Mageean partially made up for missing out on Olympic glory by becoming a record breaker for the third time at the weekend.

The Portaferry runner became the first Irish female athlete to run the 800 metres in under two minutes in the Swiss capital Bern on Friday night.

Showing no adverse affects from the lockdown, she beat a strong field to win in a time of 1:59.69 to break the Irish record of 2:00.58 set by Rose-Ann Galligan seven years ago.

Mageean’s previous best for the 800m was 2:00.79 which she set four years ago. The 28 year-old also holds Irish records for the indoor 1500m and mile.

Ironically, Friday’s run came on the same night that the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics was scheduled to take place. It was also the Portaferry athlete’s her first competitive event in five months.

“I am absolutely delighted,” she said later on Twitter. “With the disappointment of everything this year, Olympics postponed and lockdown for months, my coach, my team-mates and I put our heads down and worked hard.”

Mageean was content to stay in the pack for the first lap, going through the bell in just under 60 seconds, before taking charge at the 600m mark. From then on she was all on her own and pulled away in the home straight.

Running legend Sonia Sullivan, Olympic silver medallist and former 800m record holder before Galligan, congratulated Mageean on her victory.

“Congratulations, first Irish woman sub-2 mins for 800m. 2020 is a year to back yourself and just go for it,” she tweeted.

Mageean, twice a European medallist, has kept up her training regime in Manchester during the lockdown. In recent weeks she has been training at altitude in the Swiss ski resort of St Moritz.

She won bronze in the 1500m at the 2016 European Championships and again three years later at the European Indoor Championships.

She will now resume training in St Moritz and may run at the Irish National Championships in Dublin next month.