One of the most exciting races of the week so far was the women’s 1,500m. Stuart Weir gives us the lowdown here, full of all the ups and downs of a very tactical 1,500-meter final! 

This is a huge deal for Ireland. Until 2024, the last medal Ireland won was by Sonia O’Sullivan in 1998!

Stuart Weir puts is all together for us! 

1500m Gold for Mageean

The women’s 1500m seemed a really open race.  In advance, I had identified 8 athletes as potential medallists.  The final result was

1 Ciara Mageean (Ireland) 4:04.66

2 Georgia Bell (GB) 4:05.33

3 Agathe Guillemot (France) 4:05.69

4 Esther Guerrero (Spain) 4:06.03

5 Jemma Reekie (GB) 4:06.17

Katie Snowden, on paper, was one of the fastest, being ninth in 4:06.83, but ninth was just 0.8 seconds behind 4th.  The times are irrelevant.  This was a slow, tactical race without a pacemaker.

Ciara Mageean takes Roma 2024 1,500m, photo by European Athletics

32-year-old Ciara Mageean was a worthy winner, earning the major title she has been searching for all her career. She had been second in Munich two years ago as well as fourth at last year’s World Championships in Budapest. She commented: “I am absolutely ecstatic. I came to these championships knowing that the British athletes were so strong, and I really saw them as the biggest threat on the track.  So, to be able to come on the top, I would probably not have believed it at the beginning of the season.

Jemma Reekie leads Roma 2024 EAC 1,500m final, photo by European Athletics.

“It has been a long time coming in. I am 32, and I have been in this sport for a long time. I have been waiting to hear our national anthem in the stadium for many years. The atmosphere in the team is absolutely fantastic. I am the oldest member of the Irish team. I am looking at the athletes coming through with so much pride—this is the second gold medal for the team this week, and I do not think it is going to be our last.”

Jemma Reekie continues to lead Roma 2024, EAC 1,500m final, photo by European Athletics.

 

It was hard not to feel for Jemma Reekie, who had run a courageous race, leading most of the way round before losing ground on the final 100m. Reekie, who will be targeting 800m in the Olympics, was a little bemused afterward, saying: “I don’t know what I’ll take from this. We’ll go back and look at it and see what we can take onwards. It’s disappointing. I truly felt like I could get a medal, but I’ll talk to my coach about it. I was getting clipped all the way round, but that’s 1500m running for you. I’m always learning from these events, going through the rounds. There’s a lot we got right and a few things we got wrong. But I’ll definitely keep in touch with the 1500m”.

The battle continues, Roma 2024 EAC W 1,500m final, photo by European Athletics

Georgia Bell’s silver medal is a remarkable story.  A talented junior who only returned to serious running last year suddenly found herself world-class aged 30.  She was fourth in the world indoors in Glasgow this year and now second in Europe.  She summed up the achievement: “Even six months I would have thought you were crazy if you told me I’d win a European silver. I was unranked and unsponsored; PB in the 1500m was 4:06, which was nothing to get you anywhere near here. To see where I am now, I am very proud of myself and excited for the future. I cannot stop smiling. I just couldn’t stop smiling at the start line; it was so fun to be here. I should be at work tomorrow morning, but I’m here competing at the European Championships, so I am very happy”. What a lovely human story!

See Mageean burst through to victory:

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C8Ao92ZtJJW/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=4a781694-7cab-40c5-8deb-15bce4aad24c

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