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Ciara Mageean: ‘There Will Always Be Obstacles In Athletics And In Life, You Have To Adapt

This two time Olympian hardly even needs an introduction, given her success. 

Having previously competed in Rio in 2016 and made the semis of the 1500m , the 29 year old was attempting to repeat the feat this time around but a niggle hampered her chances and so she picked up a 4:07.29 to place 10th in the heats and halt her progression any further in Tokyo.

However, one competition doesn’t define a legend of Irish sport.


She qualified for the occasion back in 2019 with a personal best time of 4:01:21, at the Monaco Diamond League clocking the 1500m Olympic qualifying standard time of 4:04.20.

In 2020, she became the first Irish woman to run 2 minutes for 800m. She also broke Sonia O Sullivan’s 27 year old record in the 1000m, with a time of 2:31.06.  

Success and experience go hand in hand for Mageean, and no doubt she will be back in the future to do the tricolour proud.

 

 
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A post shared by Ciara Mageean (@ciaramageeanrun)

Training for the Olympics had been different for everyone due to Covid, so Mageean’s story was similar to any athlete competing. What was an outlier however is the additional adversity she has had to overcome in the last year.

”I’ve tried to look at the positives. Having another year gave me more time to get fitter, faster, stronger. Of course, training has been disruptive; camps haven’t been going ahead. But you adapt in your own way.”

Speaking before the Games, those worries still lay close to home, despite being on the other side of the world. 

”It will be different this time around, due to the current climate. It’s weird to not have fans or to be so limited in what you can do outside of performing. But it’s a strange time for everyone, not just us, which is important to remember.

”There will always be obstacles, in athletics or in life, and you have to adapt. I am going to race and that three quarters of a track is the same no matter where you are or what’s going on.”


A true definition of hard work, Mageean is somewhat of a role model for young girls out there.

She grew up in Portaferry, County Down and has lots of locals and younger people looking up to her already. So how does she feel to be a role model, especially around her hometown?

”I feel hugely honoured that I can be in that position. I take it a lot of pride and responsibility. It’s important to show young people what can you do with hard work and dedication, especially for younger girls. You show them you can do the exact same as your male counterparts.”

Mageean recognises that younger kids can teach us all a thing or two. For them, life is simple: go out and play, have fun, make friends.

”The important thing is with younger kids, they enjoy it so much. They love being out on a track or field and having fun. 

” As I’ve got older you realise the key is enjoying being active, taking on a challenge etc and it’s not always about the results. Of course competition is fantastic, it’s lovely to win but it’s better to enjoy what you’re doing.”


While the international stage this time around didn’t see a podium or semi final success for Mageean, she has had a phenomenal 18 months, smashing numerous personal bests.

Earlier in the month, she had recorded a season’s record of 4.02.48 in the 1500m finishing fifth at the Monaco Diamond League, meaning she has achieved the automatic qualification for the 2022 World Athletics Championships.

The road to Tokyo 2020 may have concluded, but the Portaferry athlete’s journey has not, nor has her ability to inspire the next generation with her humble nature, fighting spirit and impressive athleticism.

Watch the full pre-Olympics interview here with Ciara Mageean. Subscribe to Her Sport’s YouTube channel for more videos, follow us on Instagram, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.

https://youtu.be/bOVzwA31DFs

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