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Ciara sets new mark

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Ciara Mageean

Ciara Mageean

Ciara Mageean

Ciara Mageean has become the first Irish female athlete to run under two minutes for the 800m.

In a significant milestone for both distance running in Ireland and her own career, the Portaferry athlete won the 800m in 1.59.69 at a track meeting in Bern, Switzerland in her first competitive race of the year.

Her time surpasses the existing Irish record of 2:00.58 which was set in London by Rose Anne Galligan in 1987. Mageean's previous personal best for the two laps was 2:00.79 which she ran in Dublin in 2016.

Her new Irish record came on day that should have marked the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, before the Games were postponed for a year due to Covid-19.

Instead of being in Japan, Mageean - who is based in Manchester - has been training at altitude in the Swiss ski resort of St Moritz in recent weeks.