Louise Shanahan breaks Irish 800m record and two-minute barrier

She beat previous record holder Ciara Mageean in the process in Belfast

Louise Shanahan produced a stunning run at the Belfast Irish Milers Meet on Saturday afternoon, breaking the Irish senior 800 metres, beating previous record holder Ciara Mageean in the process.

Conditions at the leafy surrounds of the Mary Peters Track were ideal, and both runners made the most of them - Mageean taking up the running with a lap to go, only for Shanahan to edge past in the last 50 metres, winning in 1:59.42.

Only the second Irish woman to break the two-minute barrier, it improved Shanahan's previous best 2:01.44, set on the same track last year, and also improved the Irish record of 1:59.69 which Mageean ran in Switzerland in 2020.

There was some reward for Mageean’s effort as she again dipped under two minutes, clocking 1:59.82, another bonus for Shanahan being it qualifiers her for both the World and European Championships later this summer.


The Leevale AC runner, studying quantum physics at Cambridge University, was naturally delighted with her effort.

“With perfect conditions, and the pace up to 400m good, Ciara was the perfect wind block for the entire race, and I felt with 1.29, with 200m to go, I felt really good, and thought maybe today I can break two,” she said.

“I was just battling with Ciara down the straight, then to get the win, and a two second personal best, I can’t believe it. On Tuesday I wasn’t going to race, I didn’t think I was in shape, so this is my wildest dreams, I can’t believe it. It’s also my fourth personal best here, so I’m just delighted.”

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics