A week after her 21st birthday Sarah Healy clocked the second fastest 1,500 metres ever run indoors by an Irish woman, her second-place finish at the World Athletics Indoor Tour gold meeting in Birmingham on Saturday also displaying another level of tactical maturity.
No stranger to breaking barriers already, Healy lined up in the world class field and moved up steadily over the closing laps, finishing in 4:06.94 - with that breaking the 4:10 barrier indoors and her own Irish Under-23 record of 4:10.83 set in Mondeville in France last week.
It actually improved her outdoor 1,500m best also, the 4:07.12 she ran last summer to help her in qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. Indoors only Ciara Mageean with her national indoor record of 4:06.42, set in Boston two years ago, is faster on the Irish all-time list, Healy clearly closing in fast on that time too.
Taking the win after kicking off the front at the bell was the Ethiopian Davit Seyaum, who ran a season best of 4:04:.35. Seyaum is the athlete in form, two days earlier running 8:23.24 for the fourth-fastest indoor women’s 3000m in history in Lievin in France. Still Healy took a number of more senior scalps, the Australian Lindan Hall also setting a personal best of 4:07.36 in third, her outdoor pedigree including a sub-four clocking, and she was also sixth in the Tokyo Olympics.
The 4:06.94 also puts Healy inside the qualifying time for next month’s World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, the law student at UCD likely to race next at the Irish Indoor Championships this coming weekend.
Also enjoying a fine run in Birmingham was Georgie Hartigan, the Dundrum South Dublin athlete improved the Irish indoor 1,000m record to 2:40.01 when finishing fifth. That race was won in 2:38.25 by Britain’s Isabelle Boffey. The previous Irish indoor best of 2:41.29 belonged to Nadia Power, set in 2020.
Sarah Lavin finished a close fifth in the 60m hurdles, clocking 8.15 seconds, with victory there going to Zoe Sedney of the Netherlands in 8:02. While Molly Scott took sixth in the 60m flat, running 7.33, victory there going to the five-time Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah from Jamaica in 7.08.
Looking to build on his 3:53 mile in New York earlier this month, Andrew Coscoran also lined up in a world-class 1,500m, only looking somewhat tired he finished ninth in 3:41.46, the win there going to Kenya’s Abel Kipsang in 3:34.57.
Birmingham also produced the fastest 800m run anywhere indoors for 20 years, when 19 year-old Keely Hodgkinson improved the British record to 1:57.20, on her indoor season debut, eclipsing the previous mark of 1:57.91. It was the quickest indoor 800m since the world record of 1:55.82 set by Jolanda Ceplak at the European Indoor Championships in Vienna on March 3rd 2002; coincidentally, that also makes it the fastest indoor 800m in Hodgkinson’s lifetime, the 19-year-old having been born on the exact same date as that world record run.
Cork runner Louise Shanahan also won another prized title at the British University Championships, winning the 800m in 2:05.87, representing the University of Cambridge. Also an Olympian in Tokyo last summer, Shanahan will look to add a national indoor title to that won outdoors last summer.