Once again SportCity served up a magnificent start to the Saucony Grand Prix season with a women’s 800m that delivered all that it promised.
A BMC record in an all-female race 1:58.92 for Australian winner Abbey Caldwell, an Irish national record of 1:59.27 for runner-up Ciaran Mageean and lifetime best of 2:01.78 for Scotland international Erin Wallace in third underlined the quality of this race.
NEW Irish 800m record holder Ciara Mageean has added her praise to the British Milers Club for helping her to a flying start to the new season.
After a winter of injury problems Mageean, who is based in Stockport and working with coach Helen Clitheroe, made the short trip to the SportCity Stadium for her second race of the summer.
An opener of 2:00.36 at the Belfast Irish Milers meeting on May 13th showed the training was going well but Saturday’s 1:59.27 gave the Tokyo Olympian renewed confidence that his season can end with selection for the World Championships in Budapest.
“In only my second race of the season it was great to get out there and reclaim my Irish record,” said Mageean.
“To be fair I opened my season last year at Belfast with 1:59.86 and went on to run the Commonwealth Games (for Northern Ireland, silver in the 1500m) and the Europeans (for Ireland, again another silver in the 1500m) so it feels like I’m in a good place.
“Next up with be a 1500m at the Diamond League in Rome this Friday and then it is a busy summer of racing and training with a camp in San Moritz during July where there will be plenty of other British runners.”
With that hectic schedule of travelling ahead Mageean was only too pleased to make the short hop to the Sportcity Stadium, where she faced a strong line-up in Australian Abbey Caldwell and Scotland’s Erin Wallace.
“It was such a strong field with a good pacemaker and Abbey ran fantastically,” added Mageean.
“It just shows that there are really good events available right on tour back door if you want them. I think everyone at the BMC should be congratulated for putting on events like this.
Caldwell, who is coached by ex-GB junior international Gavin Burren, will have no regrets for turning down the chance to race at the Diamond League meeting in Rabat as she was given a proper race by Mageean.
“We went through the bell (behind the pacemaker) in 58 something and I knew Ciara was right there,” said Caldwell.
“So I was just focussing on holding my form, staying strong and trying to hold off Ciara. Luckily, I finished strongly.”
The Commonwealth Games 800m bronze medallist was only 0.3secs off her lifetime best so was pleased with that though she has yet to decide whether to focus on the two laps or the metric mile for the World Championships in Budapest last this year.