Phil Healy runs fastest 400m of her life at Irish Milers meeting
Michelle Finn also gains valuable Tokyo ranking points in 3,000m steeplechase
Phil Healy and Sophie Becker after the 400m race at the Belfast Irish Milers meet. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Phil Healy completed a valuable double at the Irish Milers club meeting in Belfast by running the fastest 400 metres of her life, adding more ranking points towards Tokyo Olympic qualification in the process.
After Athletics Ireland eventually conceded in granting the meeting a European permit, Healy came to the Mary Peters track determined to maximise the ranking points, and so she did: winning the 400m in 51.50 seconds, that was over half a second faster than her previous outdoor best, set in 2018.
The Cork athlete also ran 51.91 when finishing fourth at the European Indoor championships in Poland in March, and is now closing in on qualification for both the 200m and 400m. Earlier in the day she won the 200m in 23.21, taking the win there ahead of Kate Doherty and Aoife Lynch, two of the Irish quartet who had finished second in the recent 4x200m at the World Relays.
Sophie Becker also ran her fastest ever 400m when placing second to Healy, clocking 52.32, improving her best previous best of 53.20 and moving her to top five on the Irish all-time list.
In excellent running conditions, Michelle Finn also gained valuable Tokyo ranking points with her winning time of 9:39.44 in the 3,000m steeplechase, the second fastest of her life, and she’s now well inside the top-45 invited to Tokyo.
Despite the withdrawal of Mark English, the men’s 800m was another quality race, with aspiring Olympian John Fitzsimmons edging out Harry Purcell in a photo finish. Both runners clocking 1:46.53, again personals bests, though Fitzsimmons was given the nod.
Other highlights saw Britain’s Alexandra Bell win the 800m in a superb 1:58.52 taking 1.30 seconds off her previous best, and an automatic Olympic qualifying time. Georgie Hartigan also came away with a personal best of her own of 2:00.18 in second.