Sport

Life returns to normal for internet sensation Phil Healy

June 4th, 2016 3:00 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Award winner: Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star of the Month award winner for April, athlete Phil Healy (centre) is pictured with her mother Phil and aunt Helen Holland at a reception at the Celtic Ross Hotel. (Photo: George Maguire)

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SIX weeks have passed since Phil Healy almost broke the internet – but she’s still being reminded of her amazing feat that garnered her worldwide attention.

Currently in Belgium, the Bandon AC sprinter is continuing her outdoor season as she gets ready for the national senior track and field championships in Dublin at the end of the month, yet her heroics at the Irish Universities Athletics Association Championships in April are still a topic of conversation.

That day, the Ballineen woman ran an incredible last leg for UCC in the women’s 4x400m relay, producing an amazing comeback that saw her snatch a stunning win for the Cork college, collapsing as she crossed the line. The video that captured her heroics went viral and made headlines here at home and all over the world.

‘It’s up to over 35 million views combined,’ Healy told The Southern Star after she was presented with the Celtic Ross Hotel West Cork Sports Star of the Month award for April recently.

‘At a recent event in Loughborough (in the UK) it was called out over the intercom when I was being introduced to the crowd. Even in Belgium this week, in the athletes’ hotel, my roommate was English, and she was talking about the video, not realising that I ran the last leg.’

The third year UCC nursing student even received a message from a man in Ohio who said watching the video gave him the inspiration to get up off the couch and change the wipers on his car! 

By her own admission, Healy’s not a fan of the spotlight, and, as positive as the worldwide publicity was, she doesn’t want to lose focus on her targets.

‘The attention was something I wasn’t used to, it has calmed down and I have to remember that, as great as it all was, the 4x400m relay won’t win races for me. I need to continue focusing on what I’ve been training for, for the whole year. The show goes on.’ 

Healy is after a fantastic season to date, winning two gold medals in the national indoor championships (60m and 200m), winning the 200m at the university indoor championships as well as setting various records and a new indoor 200m PB. This week she’s between Belgium and the Netherlands, racing in Oordegem and Eindhoven, before switching to Geneva next week, all ahead of the nationals, with the European championships in Amsterdam a possibility as part of the Irish relay team, but possibly not in the individual events. 

‘I will just keep racing for the season regardless of getting the qualifying standard for the Europeans or not,’ she said.

‘This year, the standards have been made a lot harder than they were for Zurich (in 2015). The 100m qualifying standard is lowered by one tenth of a second, which is absolutely huge. That’s the same time difference that I’m outside the 200m standard at the moment. 

‘I am delighted with the shape I’m in. On May 22nd, I won the 100m in the Loughborough International in a time of 11.53, my second fastest 100m time ever, just three hundredths of a second outside the European standard and four hundredths outside my personal best. I have never ran as quick so early in the season. 

‘Our Irish 4x100m relay team is still within the top 16 qualification spots for the Europeans. As along as we stay in top 16, we will be competing in the Euros. At Geneva we will race and hopefully lower our time from last year to cement our spot there. I run the second leg on the team, with my sister Joan on the lead-off leg.’ 

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