DESPITE her preparation for the World Indoor Championships being disrupted by Covid – and at one stage she didn’t think she’d make it to Belgrade – Phil Healy will take the positives from last weekend into her outdoor season.
The Ballineen Bullet produced a calm and composed run to win her women’s 400m heat on the Friday morning, her time of 51.75 seconds just outside her PB (51.66) set recently in Madrid, but her semi-final later that evening didn't go according to plan.
Drawn in lane six, beside Healy was eventual gold medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo who powered out of the blocks, and the Bandon AC star was fourth at the bell, but had to settle for sixth in the end, with a 52.40.
‘The prep certainly wasn’t ideal, picking up Covid last week,’ Healy told RTÉ Sport’s David Gillick after her impressive heat win.
‘I even pushed out my departure to fly Wednesday instead of Tuesday because we wanted a tester session on Tuesday and, to be honest, it was crap.
‘There was half of Tuesday when I wasn’t doing the individual,’ admitted Healy, who, after the semi-final, delivered her big-race verdict.
‘That race shows the joys of indoor running, it’s messy, everyone crossing in,’ Healy said, ‘I was running really wide down the back straight, I was in lane three at one point but I couldn’t move back in as it would have been veering in and out too much.
‘It’s a 52.4, or something like that, obviously I would have liked to have been up the field further, but it’s a world semi-final. When you’re in a semi you want to get the final but it wasn’t to be today.’
11th in the World ?? ? A messy semi final but a lot to take from it, considering last week I didn’t think I would make it because of Covid.
6 x sub 52 second runs this indoor season✅
European outdoor standard ✅
Looking forward to coming out on Sunday with the 4x4 Squad☘️? https://t.co/E4hOYDwFew
— Phil Healy (@philhealy2) March 18, 2022
Her attention then switched to the Irish women’s 4x400m relay team that was in action on Sunday in their semi-final. Healy ran the final leg in a team that also included Sophie Becker (Raheny Shamrock AC), Roisin Harrison (Emerald AC) and Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport AC). While they missed out on the world final by an agonising six hundredths of a second, the Irish quartet raced to a new national record of 3:30.97, breaking the existing record by more than three seconds. The previous best had stood since 2004.
‘To fall short by that much is obviously disappointing, but it was a great performance by the girls. We wanted to get the world final but in the bigger picture it’s a time posted for the European outdoors and we will have a really good shot there,’ Healy said. She will now turn her attention to the outdoor season that will include the World and European championships and she’s in great shape too after a really strong indoor season that included six sub-52 second 400m runs, including her new PB.
‘It’s been an unbelievable indoor season, with six sub-52 seconds, so I have to be happy and take that into the outdoors,’ she reflected.
‘There have been messy races. (In the heat) I could have gone quicker if I wanted to. In Madrid it was very messy and I could have gone quicker there. I’m looking forward to the outdoor season when it’s my lane and you don’t have the tactics of who will be at the bell first. I’m really excited about what’s to come.’