PHIL Healy has become the first Irish woman ever to run under 23 seconds in the 200 metres.
The Ballineen bullet smashed another national record when she clocked 22.99 seconds at the Cork City Sports meet at the CIT track on Monday night. It broke a long-standing 17-year-old 200m record of 23.02 set by Sarah Reilly in 2001.
Having set a new Irish women’s 100m record of 11.28 in June, it means that 23-year-old Healy now holds the national 100m and 200m records. She’s the first Irish athlete in more than 40 years – Michelle Carroll in 1978 – to hold the 100m and 200m national records.
These are sensational times, on and off the track, for the West Cork sprinter.
‘It’s a fun place to be right now. It’s exciting,’ Healy told The Southern Star this week.
‘I was ranked slowest going in on Monday based on season best times so to come out third in the 200m and second in the 100m was absolutely brilliant, and to finish then with a national 200m record was the icing on top of it all.
‘That 200m record has stood since 2001, that’s a long time.
‘And I’m the first Irish woman in the last 40 years to hold both the 100m and 200m records, that’s very special.’
Healy had backed herself to deliver at the Cork City Sports. She was coming off the back of a four-week block of training under the watchful eye of her coach Shane McCormack.
‘I hadn’t been racing in that time – but I was itching to get going,’ she said.
‘I was asking Shane to let me race because the signs were there that it was going well, but I had to finish out the block of training.’
As well as her 22.99 in the 200m, Healy ran 11.30 in the 100m, her second fastest time in this distance and just 0.02 outside the national record she set in June.
At the European Athletics Championships in Berlin in August, she has decided to not compete in the 400m and instead focus on the shorter sprints.
‘We have decided to concentrate on the 100m and 200m for the Europeans,’ she confirmed.
‘The 400m is the long-term game, and I did it in the world indoors earlier this year.
‘I want to capitalise on the speed I have at the moment and see where that takes me.’