Louise Shanahan was the star of a record-breaking British/Irish Milers Club meeting at the Mary Peters Track.
The Cork athlete beat the defending Irish 800 metres record holder Ciara Mageean to set new figures of 1 min 59.42 secs.
The meeting was again blessed with perfect weather conditions which last year saw a new Irish 400 metres record for Phil Healy. This time 25-year-old Shanahan carried on the Cork tradition when she ran a massive PB to finally overcome a battling Mageean with 50 metres to go.
Mageean, in fact, set the race up for Shanahan after racing through the first lap in 60 seconds and then maintaining the pace through 600 metres in under 90 seconds.
However, the 30-year-old Portaferry woman could not hold off the rampant Shanahan in the home straight with the winner’s time meeting the qualifying standard for the World and European Championships.
Shanahan said: “I felt great today and I loved the perfect conditions. Earlier in the week I wasn’t even going to race even though I have run PBs here before. I owe Ciara a lot for a great pace which took over two seconds off my previous best.”
Mageean was magnanimous in defeat and, even though she lost her record, her time of 1.59.86 was her second fastest ever.
“I was, of course, a little disappointed to be beaten but I would have taken your hand off if I had been told I was going to run under two minutes.
“It’s just great that two Irish girls can do this so early in the season, especially on home soil. I’m racing in Birmingham next week and will be back here for the Mary Peters meeting at the end of the month.”
Mageean also confirmed she planned to race in this summer’s Commonwealth Games but hadn’t yet decided whether to go for the World or European Championships. In the absence of last year’s 400 metres record breaker Healy, victory in the race went to Raheny’s Sophie Becker in a PB of 52.24 seconds.
There was another PB win in the Men’s race where Donore’s Jack Raferty dominated to win by over a second from Marcus Lawler with a time of 46.44 seconds.
He had moved down from the 800 metres and it is paying dividends. The Men’s 1,500 metres did not disappoint when European Junior champion Nick Griggs of Mid Ulster ran 3.42.98, a PB by 0.73 secs. He was, however, overtaken in the home straight by Ethan Hussey of Leeds ( 3.42.53).
A year ago GB’s Alex Bell ran under 1 min 59 secs in the 800 metres at Upper Malone en route to an outstanding seventh place at the Tokyo Olympics . This time, in her first outing of the season, she comfortably took the 1,500 metres from Jenny Selman in 4.10.67. There were more PBs in the Men’s sprints which featured the top-ranked Irishmen.
UCD’s Israel Olatunde took the 100 metres in 10.35 secs while Galway’s Robert McDonell had a comfortable half second victory in the 200 metres in 20.61 secs.
Northern Ireland’s Emma Mitchell was untroubled in the 5,000 metres with victory in 16.38.48.
Meanwhile, Mitchell’s Northern Ireland 10,000 metres record was shattered by a massive 24 secs in the UK Championships in Highgate, London.
Cambridge athlete Hannah Irwin, who was second in the Dundonald Cross Country in January, finished in 32 mins 25.34 secs which is a comfortable 12 secs inside the consideration time for selection by Northern Ireland for August’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.