Ciara Mageean and Rhasidat Adeleke joint winners of 2023 Athlete of the Year

First time two women athletes shared the honour after fourth-place finishes at the World Championships

Such was the supreme quality and shared consistency of their performances it was impossible to keep them apart; Ciara Mageean and Rhasidat Adeleke have been announced as joint winners of the 2023 Athlete of the Year award.

It is the first time two women athletes share the honour, entirely fitting given the similar heights reached by both Mageean and Adeleke over the course of the year, including their fourth-place finishes at the World Championships during those hot nights in Budapest last August.

Both came so near to the podium in that championships. They found plenty of success elsewhere, Mageean improving her own Irish 1,500m record as well as adding the mile and 800m mark, with Adeleke repeatedly rewriting the Irish records over both 200m and 400m, indoors and then out.

Both aren’t resting on any such laurels either, and Olympic preseason training commitments meant neither were able to attend the Athletics Ireland luncheon in Santry on Wednesday.


For Mageean, the 31-year-old from Portaferry and last year’s outright winner, the season started with her regaining the Irish 800m record, running 1:59.27 in Manchester, then in July improving by almost three seconds the Irish mile record which had belonged to Sonia O’Sullivan since 1994, running 4:14.58. After Budapest, she then improved her Irish 1,500m record to 3:55.87 in Brussels, finishing second in the Diamond League.

For Adeleke, the now 21-year-old from Tallaght, her record-breaking spree started early at the University of Texas, breaking seven senior marks in all, which also doubled as Irish under-23 records, making for a grand tally of 14.

This included the first sub-50 second 400m by any Irish woman with her 49.90, which she improved to 49.20 when winning the NCAA outdoor title, another first by an Irish sprinter, male or female. Her time improved by well over a second in one year, all while still aged 20. She also twice lowered her 200m mark, taking it down to 22.34.

Mageean was also awarded the 2023 Track Athlete of Year award, ahead of Irish relay star Sharlene Mawdsley and fellow record breakers Sarah Lavin (100m and 100m hurdles) and Andrew Coscoran (1,500m).

Lavin had spent the summer edging ever closer to the 100m hurdles record of 12.65, set by Derval O’Rourke in 2010, before at those same World Championships, in the super-competitive semi-finals, she ran 12.62. Suitably satisfied, Lavin came out just over a week later in Switzerland and broke the Irish 100m record, running 11.27 to improve Phil Healy’s 11.28 mark from 2018.

Not surprisingly, Adeleke also picked up the Under-23 Athlete of the Year, ahead of Sarah Healy, Sophie O’Sullivan, and Nicola Tuthill.

O’Sullivan just got the better of Healy over 1,500m at the European Under-23 Championships, winning a first gold medal for Ireland in that category.

Elizabeth Ndudi was named Under-20 Athlete of Year following her superb gold medal in the long jump at those championships in Jerusalem back in August, an Under-20 national record of 6.56m to boot.

As expected, Mark Carroll proved a popular inductee into the Hall of Fame, the Cork distance runner boasting a remarkable CV that includes bronze over 5,000m at the 1998 European Championships, and gold over 3,000m two years later. His 7:30.36 for 3,000m, run in Monaco in 1999, ranks as one of the best in the Irish record books, and he also ran 2:10:54 for the marathon, finishing sixth in New York in 2002.

In the end, it proved a truly record-breaking season, with 90 Irish records falling across all disciplines over the last 10 months (at U-18, U-20, U-23 and Senior), some across two categories, eclipsing the previous record high of 81 records from 2022.

The Lifetime Services to Athletics Award was presented to Matt Lynch, while Ballymena and Antrim’s Martin Wilkinson won Official of the Year. John Hartnett and Susan Smith Walsh were joint recipients of Special Recognition Awards, while John Sheehan of Leevale received the award for Services to Coaching.

National Athletics Award Winners 2023

Hall of Fame: Mark Carroll

Athlete of the Year: Ciara Mageean/Rhasidat Adeleke

Endurance Athlete of the Year: Brian Fay

Under 20 Athlete of the Year: Elizabeth Ndudi

Under 23 Athlete of the Year: Rhasidat Adeleke

Track Athlete of the Year: Ciara Mageean

Field Athlete of the Year: Eric Favors

Team of the Year: 4x400m Mixed Relay World Championships

Inspirational Performance on Irish Soil: Israel Olatunde (60m indoor record)

Lifetime Services to Athletics: Matt Lynch

Special recognition Awards: John Hartnett/Susan Smith Walsh

Performance Club of the Year: Leevale AC

Services to Coaching: John Sheehan

Official of the Year: Martin Wilkinson

Development Club of the Year: Ratoath AC

Mountain Runner of the Year: Becky Quinn

Masters Athlete of of the Year: Annette Quaid

Ultra Runner of the Year: Ciaran McGonagle

Schools’ Athlete of the Year: Adam Nolan

University Athlete of the Year: Nicola Tuthill

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

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