CORK'S Louise Shanahan produced a magnificent performance at the Irish Milers Club meeting in Belfast on Saturday to break the Irish 800m record, the Tokyo Olympian clocking 1:59.42 to out-kick previous record holder Ciara Mageean.
“This is out of my wildest dreams, I can’t believe it,” said Shanahan, whose previous best was the 2:01.44 she ran in Belfast last year.
“I felt really good today and loved every minute of the warm-up. It was perfect conditions and Ciara was the perfect wind-block through the entire race.”
Shanahan ran behind Mageean – who held the Irish record at 1:59.69 – through the first 750 metres before fighting past her fellow Olympian the run to the line, with Mageean clocking 1:59.82 in second in her season debut.
They are now the only two Irishwomen in history to have broken two minutes for 800m.
“I saw 1:29 going through 600 and I felt really good,” said Shanahan.
“It’s a two-second PB and on Tuesday I was considering not racing, my coach was trying to convince me I was in shape.
"The goal this year was to break 2:01, so to smash that in my first race is amazing.”
Shanahan’s time qualifies her for both the World Championships in Eugene in July and the Europeans in Munich in August.
The 25-year-old Leevale athlete is currently doing a PhD in quantum physics at the University of Cambridge, where she’s coached by Phil O’Dell.