It has been a memorable year for Irish athletics as our top Track and Field stars have mixed it with the very best in the world on the Diamond League circuit.
In total eight Irish athletes have raced in Diamond League events this year, while Paul Robinson was on pacing duties on a couple of occasions.
It all began on the 5th of May in Doha when three Irish athletes got their seasons underway in the Qatari capital. Mark English, Thomas Barr and Sarah Lavin all featured, Lavin making her debut at the level clocking her fastest ever season opener in the Women’s 100m Hurdles, finishing in 13.08 seconds.
Fast forward to Rabat in Morocco three weeks later and it was Sarah Healy who took centre-stage finishing seventh in a competitive race.
The Rome leg of the circuit took place in Florence this year and it most certainly was an evening to remember. Ciara Mageean performed admirably to finish fourth in the Women’s 1500m (4.00.95). About eighty metres ahead of her was Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon who stormed to a new world record in 3.49.11, a time that will take some beating in years to come.
There was no Irish involvement in Paris, but Mageean returned at the iconic Bislett Games in Oslo to race in the Dream Mile. It wasn’t her day as she finished way down the field in eleventh, however she still had plenty more left in the tank for the season.
Sarah Lavin’s performance in Stockholm was a game-changer in terms of her career progression. A 12.89 win in the pre-programme national race saw her book a place in the big race later that evening. Despite having to dry off her soaking wet clothes for a considerable time after, she seized the massive opportunity with both hands, crossing the line in a personal best of 12.73 from lane one, finishing second behind world record holder Tobi Amusan.
Mageean also returned to the track in the Swedish capital, finishing fourth in the 1500m.
The Polish city of Chorzow was the venue for the Silesia leg of the tour with Balbriggan man Andrew Coscoran producing a stunning breakthrough performance.
Coscoran lowered his own Irish 1500m record to 3.30.42 to finish fourth in a top class field, with the first eight across the line recording new personal bests.
Monaco saw three of the best Irish female athletes in action as Mageean and Lavin were joined by Rhasidat Adeleke who made her Diamond League debut.
In another race where the world record was obliterated by Faith Kipyegon, this time the Women’s Mile, Ciara Mageean delivered a magical performance to record a time of 4.14.58, in doing so becoming the fifth fastest female miler ever.
Adeleke looked at home on the big stage in the Women’s 400m and despite being off her best still clocked a very credible 49.99 to finish in fourth.
Lavin continued her consistent string of performances finish seventh in 12.74, getting ever closer to Derval O’Rourke’s national record that she would ultimately break at the World Championships in Budapest.
Michelle Finn returned to the big stage at the London Diamond League and came away with a massive season’s best of 9.34.76 in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase. Coscoran had an off-day at the Olympic Stadium finishing fourteenth in the 1500m.
Nearly as soon as the World Championships had wrapped up, attention turned to Zurich where Brian Fay finished fast to come sixth in the Men’s 5000m. Coscoran also raced but couldn’t deliver the performance he was hoping for.
That weekend Sarah Healy was in Xiamen in China for one of her final races of the season finishing seventh in the Women’s 1500m in the second fastest time of her life.
Just last week it was all eyes on Mageean once more at the Brussels Diamond League as the 31-year-old from Portaferry, Co. Down once again lowered her own national record for the 1500m as she finished second behind Britain’s Laura Muir in 3.55.87.
And so the final round of the series comes this weekend in Eugene, Oregon where Mageean and Brian Fay are set to race.
Mageean will be looking for yet another fast 1500m time, while Fay goes in the Men’s 3000m.
With eight Irish athletes having raced in the prestigious series this year it certainly proves that our stars are up there with the very best.