Sonia O'Sullivan praises Ciara Mageean after Co. Down runner breaks Irish 1500m record

Sonia O'Sullivan praises Ciara Mageean after Co. Down runner breaks Irish 1500m record

LEGENDARY Irish athlete Sonia O'Sullivan has praised Ciara Mageean after the Co. Down runner set a new Irish 1500m record.

Mageean shocked Britain's Laura Muir at the Diamond League in Brussels to finish first in the 1500m with a time of 3:56.63.

Not only did the 30-year-old set a new personal best, she also set a new national record, eclipsing O'Sullivan's time of 3:58.85 from the Herculis meet in Monaco in July 1995.

O'Sullivan was present at the Allianz Memorial Van Damme meet at the King Baudouin Stadium on Friday night to see Mageean break her record.

Afterwards, the Cobh native paid tribute to Mageean on Twitter for her fearless performance.

"Congratulations @ciaramageean winning Brussels Diamond league 1500m and [setting a] new Irish record; old record nearly as old as Ciara is young," she wrote.

"Great to be in the stand to witness such a great race by Ciara who has had a great season and was not afraid to lose tonight."

Mageean's victory saw her get the better of Muir, who had pipped her to gold last month at both the Commonwealth Games (where Mageean represented Northern Ireland) and the European Championships.

'Running on clouds'

Speaking afterwards, Mageean said that despite never having run under four minutes before, she had O'Sullivan's record in her sights as she was 'completely in the zone'.

"I expected to run fast and I actually had the national record of Sonia O'Sullivan, which is 3.58.85, on my mind," she said.

"I thought that I had it in me to beat that record and maybe run 3:57.

"However, before this race I had never ran under four minutes, so to run a time of 3:56.63 is something that blows my mind.

"People say that in athletics and in life every so often you have a day where you are completely in the zone.

"It doesn't happen when you want to and you never know when it will happen.

“I can only say that this is how I felt today: I was in the zone and it felt like I was running on clouds.

Ciara Mageean (third from left) finished first ahead of Great Britain’s Laura Muir (second) and Ethiopian pair Freweyni Hailu (third) and Diribe Welteji (fourth) (Image: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

"I'm so happy with this result and to be able to beat the national record of a legend like Sonia O'Sullivan is so special.

"For me, winning a medal at a major championship is still the most important thing, but breaking a record is also something you want as an athlete.

"I can't wait to celebrate this with my team and my family."

Mageean's success comes after a difficult year that has seen her overcome challenges on and off the track.

"In January I had a calf injury, in April I changed coaches, which wasn't planned, and just before the Commonwealth Games I had Covid," she said.

"It wasn't smooth, but it's all about consistency.

"I worked so hard to become a steady competitor at the world level and once you get consistent, every now and then you get a glistening day like today."

Mageean is next in action in the Diamond League Grand Final at the Weltklasse Zürich meet on Thursday, September 8 at the Letzigrund stadium.