Ciara Mageean: Portaferry athlete in ‘shape of my life’ for European Championships

Ciara Mageean embraces Laura Muir after the recent Commonwealth Games 1500m final in Birmingham
Mageean insists that Laura Muir will not be unbeatable at this week’s European Championships

Ciara Mageean says she is “in the shape of my life” heading into this week’s European Championships and does not believe Laura Muir will be unbeatable in the 1500m in Munich.

“Laura’s a phenomenal athlete and beat me on the day, but I feel I can get closer and run better,” said Mageean.

“Nobody is unbeatable and I certainly believe that Laura is not unbeatable.

“When you say you’re in the shape of your life it obviously puts pressure on yourself, but ultimately all the pressure comes from me and I think I’m in the best shape that I’ve ever been in.

“The training camps I’ve done have certainly suggested that. I had a fantastic camp in St Moritz prior to the Commonwealth Games.

“I’m usually someone who turns to my coach a lot for reassurance that I’m in shape because I enjoy training leading up to a championship and I’ve definitely had that positive feedback from Helen [Clitheroe].

“Obviously there are times that you just have to go out and hold on for dear life, like the race in Doha (2019 World Championship 1500m final) when it was won in 3:51.

“But I do believe that I can go out there and race these championships and be up there again for another medal.

“Laura deserves every ounce of respect that she gets, but I’m a fierce competitor myself and hopefully I made her have a few worries about me coming up on her shoulder.

“I’ve shown I’m in good form and that I’m tactically astute – maybe that comes with age. I’m exactly where I want to be heading into these championships.”

Ciara Mageean
Ciara Mageean won a 1500m bronze medal at the 2016 European Championships in Amsterdam

Covid maybe ‘a blessing in disguise’

Mageean contracted Covid-19 in June which forced her to miss the Irish Championships because she was unable to run for 10 days.

However, she admits that the unwanted interruption to her training could have been a “blessing in disguise in some ways”, even though the effects of the illness did cause her to have three periods in one month.

“I feel like it [Covid-19] didn’t do me any harm,” said the 30-year-old.

“It possibly gave a couple of niggles that I carry now as an older athlete, it helped some of them ease down and probably gave me a base line of less pain going into my running which was nice.

“But interestingly enough it does mess with you a lot. I was on my third period of the month going into the Commonwealth Games.

“It’s probably a real indicator of female athlete health is a regular period. I have a regular period and it comes at exactly the same time once a month so whenever I got Covid, I managed to have three periods in one month.

“That does throw you a bit – particularly going into the Commonwealth Games. Helen was a little concerned but I reassured her that exactly the same thing happened when I had my vaccine booster, so it just shows how much that virus does to your body.

“It does affect you. You have to give your body the chance to recover, but I don’t think it set me back performance wise.”

‘I’ll be disappointed if I don’t medal’

With Mageean entered for both the 1500m and 800m in Munich, but possibly skipping the shorter event, she admits that failing to land her second major championship medal of the summer would be a disappointment.

“With any championship you take it one race at a time, but I’m certainly going into them with the ambition of a medal.” she said.

“That’s what I would be aiming to come away with and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t.”

The Portaferry athlete will begin her medal challenge in the 1500m heats on Tuesday morning with 800m heats following on Thursday, before the 1500m final on Friday evening and the two-lap decider taking place 24 hours later.

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