Shanahan breaks Irish 800m record at Irish Milers Meet in Belfast
LOUISE Shanahan broke the Irish women's 800m record in the standout race at Saturday's Belfast Irish Milers Meet.
The Cork athlete outkicked home favourite Ciara Mageean in the final straight to clock a personal best 1:59.42 to Mageean's 1:59.86.
It is the first time two Irish women have broken 2 minutes for 800m in the same race. Shanahan and Mageean, both Olympians, are the only two Irish women ever to have achieved the standard.
The performance secured Shanahan the qualification standards for the World Championships in Oregon, as well as the European Championships in Munich which both take place this summer.
For previous record holder Mageean, her time helped her achieve the Commonwealth Games consideration standard.
The women's 800m race has been the most exciting for the past two years of the Belfast Irish Milers Meet. Last year, Alexandra Bell achieved her Olympic qualifying time on the lightning quick Mary Peters Track. This year, Bell moved up to the 1500m distance, which she won ahead of her British teammate Jenny Selman.
In the men's 1500m, rising star Nick Griggs of Mid Ulster AC ran an impressive 3:42.98, a personal best, but was beaten into second place by Ethan Hussey of Leeds AC, who clocked 3:42.59.
Other performances of note included a 10.35 for Israel Olatunde from UCD AC over 100m, edging him ever closer to the Irish record of Paul Hession (10.18).
Tokyo 2022 relay star Sophie Becker continued her early season form with a 52.24 PB over 400m, to move into the top five on the Irish all-time list. Her Tokyo colleague Phil Healy, who won at last year's event, was a late withdrawal.
Although an undercard event, the men's 800m E race saw an Irish over fifties record for Drogheda's Mark O'Shea. A previous World Masters gold medallist, he clocked a stunning 1:59.85 to take the record held by Atlanta Olympian Shane Healy, who was among the spectators on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Dean Casey of Ennis Track AC set a new Irish U20 10,000m record of 28.57.34 at the Highgate Harriers Night of 10k PBs Meet on Saturday. At the same event, Hannah Irwin ran a massive PB of 32:25, achieving the Commonwealth Games qualifying time and breaking the Northern Ireland record.