Ciara Mageean narrowly misses medal and marathoners impress on final day of Euro Championships!

European Athletics Championships 2018:Portaferry’s Ciara Mageean had the agonising experience last night (Sunday 12th August 2018) of finishing 4th in the European 1,500 metres final in Berlin were she just missed out on a medal by less than a second.

It was the unfortunate a case of so near, yet so far for the 26-year-old who gave everything in a race which was dominated by European Indoor champion, Laura Muir. After a pedestrian early pace Muir took up the gauntlet half way through and never relinquished the lead.

In the “catch me if you can” race behind her, Ciara was in contention with 150 metres left along with GB’s Laura Weightman and Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui. However, Weightman got the edge in the home straight just edging out Mageean for the bronze medal.

An unchallenged Muir took gold in 4.02.32 ahead of Ennaoui (4.03.08) and Weightman (4.03.75). Ciara recorded 4.04.63.

A despondent Mageean said; “I didn’t come here for 4th – it’s just the worse place to be. Fourth is a very lonely place. I left everything out there including my stomach. I was on my hands and knees at the finish. I do however take a lot from this and I am improving all the time. This was a much better field than two years ago when I got bronze. Laura (Muir) is a world class athlete and I am just not yet up with her. Weightman had an extra gear and I thought I had her. I can hold my head high after tonight. There is more to come and I feel I am going from strength-to-strength. From now on I want other girls to look at me on the line as a real threat. ”

European Marathon results – 4 NI finishers in 30-degree heat.    

In the Men’s Marathon, Belfast’s Kevin Seaward ran a cagey, determined race to finish an excellent 15th in the 100 strong field and head the Irish team to a commendable 6th place in the Team event behind winners Italy.

Seaward (Commonwealth Games 4th placer) was his usual cautious starter and went through the halfway mark in just over 68 mins. After that he gradually made huge inroads into the opposition in a standard, even paced race. The 32-year-old passed long time early Irish leader Mick Clohissey with only some 4 miles remaining. Seaward mirrored his tactics in Australia and finished like the proverbial train in 2 hrs 16 mins 58 secs which is in in fact one of his fastest times. Annadale’s Paul Pollock finished in 47th place with a time of 2:23.26. The race was won by Koen Naert of Belgium in a PB of 2 hrs 9 mins 51 secs.

An elated Seward said; “It was hot out there in the second half but there were 5 guys to spur each other on for the team. I knew that if I held strong in the second half I would do ok. There were shades of the Gold Coast here but I respect the weather. I took time off after Australia to prepare for this. I am happy with that but I want to run quicker; perhaps in the autumn when I would like to break 2 hrs 14 mins. I feel really strong at the moment and have been injury free for a long time.”

Holywood’s Pollock said he was only back after 11 weeks of serious injury but felt he could help out if a medal was in the offing. He said that unfortunately the last 6 miles were a real grind but he was determined to get back with a possible marathon in the Autumn.

The Women’s Marathon was won by Volha Mazuronak of Belarus in 2 hrs 26 mins 22 secs. The Irish team which included 2 NI girls, were 8th overall. City of Derry’s Breege Connolly finished 31st with a time of 2:41.53, with North Belfast’s Gladys Ganiel finishing shortly behind in 33rd place with 2:42.42.

Breege said; “Gladys and I ran together which helps and we agreed not to run faster than 6 mins 5 secs mile pace. The weather was challenging but not unbearable. We were catching a lot of people later on. I only got away from Gladys nearing the end. I am very pleased with today “.