Ciara Mageean breaks Irish 800m record in Manchester

Running in the opening British Milers’ Club Grand Prix of the season at Sports City, Mageean recorded a time of 1:58.51 seconds.

Ciara Mageean celebrates her Irish record in Manchester
Ciara Mageean celebrates her Irish record in Manchester

Ciara Mageean made a sensational late start to the season with a new Irish 800m record in Manchester. Running in the opening British Milers’ Club Grand Prix of the season at Sports City, Mageean recorded a time of 1:58.51 seconds, bettering her own previous mark set at the same meeting last year by over half a second.

It was the 32-year-old Portaferry woman’s first race of the season with the European Athletics Championships in Rome just over a week away. Mageean had already qualified in the 800m but is unlikely to contest the distance in the Italian capital, preferring to concentrate on the 1500m where she has genuine prospects of a medal.

Mageean went through the bell in a swift 57.5 seconds, following the newly-installed pacemaking wave light technology at the venue adjacent to Manchester City’s ground. Despite that fast opening, she still trailed British teenager Phoebe Gill, who had caused a sensation at the Belfast Irish Milers’ Meeting a fortnight earlier with the second fastest time in the world this year and a European U18 record.

The County Down woman moved into second spot with 200m to run but was unable to capitalise when Gill started to fade close to the line which she held on to reach in 1:58.08.

Dubliner Sarah Healy placed fourth in a personal best time of 2.00.86, moving the 23-year-old up to eighth on the Irish all-time list. Like Mageean, Healy is likely to race only the 1500m in Rome where Sophie O’Sullivan will bring the Irish complement to three in the event.

Elsewhere, Irish athletes were busy at a number of fixtures across the continent. Limerick’s Sarah Lavin took victory in the 100m Hurdles at the Meeting Stanislas Nancy in France clocking 12.92 (+0.2) and also raced in the 100m finishing seventh in 11.62. UCD AC’s Luke McCann returned to action at the same meeting in the 1500m after a long lay off through injury, finishing ninth in 3:37.27. Sam Healy got out to 7.68m (+0.2) in the long jump to move up to sixth on the Irish all-time list.

Tipperary’s 400m specialist Sharlene Mawdsley ascended into the top 20 on the Irish all-time list for the 100m at the IFAM Meet in Brussels with a personal best 11.52 seconds. That time was matched by former European U20 champion Gina Akpe-Moses while Mollie O’Reilly returned a personal best 11.65 seconds timing.

A host of Irish quarter milers were in action in the Belgian city with Sligo’s Chris O’Donnell the fastest on a 46.30 clocking. He was followed closely by Thomas Barr (46.53), Jack Raftery (46.68), Callum Baird (46.80) and Joe Doody (46.85). 800m specialist Mark English made a rare drop down in distance to record 47.83 seconds in his heat.

The now almost obligatory weekly world record came on Saturday from Beatrice Chebet of Kenya who set a new 10,000m mark at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League fixture in Eugene, Oregon. Chebet stopped the clock at 28:54.14, an astounding seven seconds faster than Letesenbet Gidey’s previous world record of 29:01.03, set in 2021.

It will not have escaped Ciara Mageean’s notice that one of her main rivals for the gold medal in Rome, Scotland’s Laura Muir, opened her season impressively with a fourth in the 1500m clocking 3:56.35 behind the winner Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia who was timed at 3:53.75.

Another Scot, world 1500m champion Josh Kerr, overcame his arch-rival Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the Olympic champion, to win the mile in a British record 3:45.34. The only Irish athlete competing at the meeting was sprinter Orla Comerford who won the women’s 100m Para final in 12.13 seconds (+0.1).