Shanahan (pictured left) smashed her old personal best by just over two secondsLouise Shanahan

Louise Shanahan, who is currently in her third year of studying a PhD in quantum physics at Trinity College, broke the Irish 800m record in Belfast on Saturday (14/5).

The Tokyo Olympian clocked a time of 1:59.42, beating Ciara Mageean’s previous record of 1:59.69 that was set two years ago in Switzerland.

Shanahan, whose previous best was a 2:01.44 achieved in Belfast last year, ran behind Mageean through the first 750m before fighting past her fellow Olympian in a dramatic dash for the finish line.

Shanahan now joins Mageean as only the second Irishwoman in history to have broken two minutes for 800m.


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“I am both delighted and shocked,” explained a jubilant Shanahan after the event.

“Going sub two minutes is a dream for any female 800m runner, but to break the national record is the icing on the cake.”

“I don’t think this result will sink in for a very long time, but I am excited to see what doors it opens up for me over the rest of the season.”

Shanahan’s time qualifies her for both the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon this July and the Europeans in Munich the following month.