Ciara Mageean produced the best performance of her career to smash Sonia O’Sullivan’s Irish 1500m record and take victory at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels tonight, the 30-year-old clocking 3:56.63.
Mageean’s time carved more than two seconds off O’Sullivan’s previous record of 3:58.85, set in 1995, and it brought her home ahead of European champion and Olympic silver medallist Laura Muir of Britain, who clocked 3:56.86.
O’Sullivan tonight praised Mageean for her performance.
“Congratulations winning Brussels Diamond league 1500m and new Irish record old record nearly as old as Ciara is young,” she said.
“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 had run a patient race, biding her time in the pack as 400m was reached by the pacemakers in 60.68 and 800m in 2:05.00.
“I knew I had it in me to go under four and I thought I had it in me to get an Irish record, but I didn’t really fathom a 3:56,” said Mageean.
“I’m on cloud nine. To be in the same realm as Sonia O’Sullivan, she’s a name everybody knows, not just in Ireland but globally, and to surpass her time is something I’ve always dreamed of. That Irish record has been in my sights a long time. I’m glad I’ve finally put my name to it.”
With a lap to run, Mageean began moving through the leading pack and she swept to the front off the final turn, holding her form magnificently down the home straight to hit the line in front.
Behind her was a horde of world-class performers, including Muir, who was third in this year’s world 1500m final, and Freweyni Hailu of Ethiopia, who was fourth in the world final.
Mageean’s previous best was the 4:00.15 she ran to finish 10th in the world final in 2019, but the Portaferry native had shown this year in two championship races that she had reached a higher level, winning silver at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and at last month’s European Championships in Munich.
“I knew there was a fast time coming, I just hadn’t got into a fast race to show it,” said Mageean.
“It was one of those days. People often describe being in the zone and for me, today, that happened. I felt like I was running on clouds – it was amazing.”
Earlier in the night, Chris O’Donnell turned in a strong showing to finish second over 400m in 45.78.
“I was in lane two a bit away from the action, I just had to focus on my own lane, but in the last 10 metres I could have done with some company,” said O’Donnell.
“But I'm really happy because I came in second in a strong race with some top athletes. I wanted to win, but in this field, I’m happy with this performance.”