Sarah Healy breaks Sonia O’Sullivan’s U23 1,500m record

Dublin runner sets new mark at World Athletics Continental Tour gold meeting in Ostrava

One of the last Irish underage records belonging for years to Sonia O’Sullivan has been broken in utterly convincing style by Sarah Healy, the 21 year-old from Dublin clocking a world-class time of 4:02.86 for 1,500 metres at the at the World Athletics Continental Tour gold meeting in Ostrava.

This improved by almost five seconds Healy’s best outdoor time of last summer, and took three seconds off O’Sullivan’s Irish under-23 record of 4:05.81 set 31 years ago in Monaco.

Victory in the Czech Republic on the night went to Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji in 3:59.19, Healy mixing with that elite company to place sixth, her 4:02.86 also moving her to fourth on the Irish all-time senior list behind O’Sullivan, Ciara Mageean and Geraldine Hendricken.

It also makes for three Irish under-23 distance records broken by Healy already in 2022, starting through her impressive indoor season where set new 1,500m (4:06.94) and 3,000m (8:53.67) records. Last year summer she also lowered the Under-23 outdoor mile record to 4:49.38 and the Under-23 3,000m record to 8:52.63.


For Healy, a student of law at UCD, is also qualifies her for the World Championships on Oregon in July, plus the European Championships in Munich in August.

It continues the fine run of Irish under-23 records to have fallen in recent days, Cork’s Darragh McElhinney breaking John Treacy’s 5,000m record on Saturday night in Belgium, clocking 13:17.17 to finish sixth and take nine seconds off Treacy’s mark, which had stood since 1978.

At the same meeting in Oordegem, Robert McDonnell improved his 200m best to 20.5, breaking the under-23 mark of 20.57 that had been stood to Steven Colvert since 2012.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

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