Three Irish athletes were in action at the Meeting Marseille in France last night as the busy track and field season continued. With just over one week to go now until the window for qualification closes for the upcoming World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon athletes are chasing times and precious ranking points in the hopes of making the Irish team.
Phil Healy (Bandon AC) is one such athlete who will be doing everything she can to ensure she is on the plane to America. Healy, who is coached by Shane McCormack competed in the 200m, 400m, and 4x400m Mixed Relay at the Tokyo Olympics last summer but has had to contend with some injury issues this season. The Cork woman had a great run in Geneva, Switzerland last weekend which moved her to second in the Irish rankings this season over 400m behind Rhasidat Adeleke. The field in Marseilles was strong and Healy ran well, perhaps fading slightly in the last 50m. She crossed the line in fifth place in a time of 52.27s. Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek won the race in 51.25s.
Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC) was the next Irish athlete. Shanahan, who also competed at the Olympics last summer has had a sensational season and has already secured automatic qualification for the World Championships after running a new National Record over 800m in Belfast last month of 1.59.42. The 800m race went off relatively slowly with only one athlete attempting to go after the pacemaker meaning Shanahan and others went through the bell in a modest 61s. In typical fashion, it was the final straight where Shanahan made her move, looking by far the strongest of the field but she just ran out of track and had to settle for a third placed finish in a time of 2.02.75.
Luke McCann (UCD AC) has also been busy racing in recent weeks in America and Europe. McCann is also accumulating valuable ranking points on the road to Oregon. The 2022 1500m national indoor champion raced over his preferred distance once again last night. McCann sat off the early pace and only really got going after 800. He made a strong move in the final 200m to gain a lot of ground on the field ensuring he finished fifth clocking 3.38.52, outside his Season’s Best of 3.36.93 set last month in Hayward Field where next month’s World Championships will take place. His strong last lap was ran in around 57s.