World 1,500 metres finalist Ciara Mageean continued her Olympic year in style with a second personal best time this year with victory in last night's AIT Grand Prix Athletics meeting in Athlone.
The 27-year-old recorded a time of eight minutes 48.27 secs in the 3,000 metres event, which takes some seven seconds off her previous best. It places her third on the Irish all-time list behind Mary Cullen (8:43.74) and Sonia O'Sullivan (8:21:64).
It is almost four years since Mageean raced over this longer distance but she displayed plenty of maturity from the gun. She was forced to take the lead at halfway and had only GB steeplechaser Rosie Clarke for company in the closing stages. Clarke fought to the end but Mageean prevailed at the line for a one second victory.
"I'm delighted with that," she said. "My aim was to go out fast and then get a stadium record and a personal best. I did both. Mary's Irish record is not easy. I'm very happy with two personal bests this year already."
This performance followed Mageean's Irish Indoors 1,500 metres record in Boston last month of 4:6:42, which beat her previous record set at the Athlone venue a year ago. She is clearly in the best form of her life in this critical year which culminates in the Tokyo Olympics in August. She will race again in Madrid next week.
In the Men's 400 metres, Bangor's Andrew Mellon was sixth in 48.69 seconds.