Irish athlete Ciara Mageean broke the 27-year-old national record over 1000m in the Monaco leg of the Diamond League. Christine Coffey reflects on the middle-distance runner’s strong performances since the return of elite competitions.
Former UCD student Ciara Mageean stormed to an impressive finish in the Women’s 1000m event in the Diamond League on Friday night in national record time. The Portaferry track athlete crossed the line with a time of 2:31.06, a full 3 seconds faster than the previous record set by Sonia O’Sullivan in 1993. O’ Sullivan took to twitter almost immediately after the race, adding her congratulations to the outpouring of support for Mageean.
The record set in Monaco was all the more impressive, considering how the race panned out and the obstacles that presented themselves. Great Britain’s Oskan-Clarke set the pace for a very fast race, and with just under 300m to go Kenya’s Kipyegon took the lead and started to put distance between herself and the Scottish pair of Muir and Reekie. The Kenyan’s 2.29.15 first place finish was just out of reach for the chasing group, but agonisingly just short of breaking the world record on the night.
Mageean found herself in the middle of the pack for the first 200m, where she bode her time and gradually worked her way into a position from which to strike. At the bell, a move to find space on the inside of world 800m champion Nakaayi proved unfruitful and the Down athlete had to dig deep to beat her on the outside and chase down the front three who had begun pulling away. On the home-straight Muir and Mageean showed their 1500m strength and experience to finish strongly in second and third respectively, ahead of Muir’s young fellow Scotswoman and training partner Reekie. Muir, a regular feature on the starting line running against Mageean, also broke a national record on the night.
Friday night’s performance makes it two new national records in as many races since the resumption of athletic competitions. Last month the New Balance star became the first Irish female athlete to run 800m in under 2 minutes. In interviews she has discussed the lockdown-induced alterations to her training programmes, which have allowed her the opportunity to work specifically on developing her speed. This has translated to striking form over these shorter distances (800m and 1000m), which will hopefully stand to her in the more familiar 1500m event. Coach Steve Vernon also talked about complimenting this with strength training and endurance over longer distances, pointing to her training with long-distance runner and fellow ‘Team New Balance Manchester’ member Jip Vastenburg as important in this aspect. Mageean was part of the Irish team that finished third in the European Cross Country Championships last December.
A personal best in an astoundingly fast 1500m final at the World Championships in Doha last year means that Mageean is already qualified for the upcoming games in Tokyo. Reaching the semi-final stage at her first Olympic games in Rio might seem much more than four years ago, but the UCD graduate will be hoping to keep up this blistering pace to go one step further in Tokyo, should the games go ahead. At this rate, the ‘Wee girl from Portaferry’ might even join Sonia O’Sullivan in the ‘sub-4 club’ over 1500m before then.
|1000m||2:32.06||14/08/2020||Herculis(Diamond League)||Fortville, Monaco|
|800m||1:59.69||24/07/2020||Citius Champs Meeting||Bern, Switzerland|
|World Athletics Indoor Tour||Boston, Massachusetts|
|26/01/2019||New Balance Indoor Grand Prix||Boston, Massachusetts|