DCU’s Claire Fagan clinched first place for Ireland in the Women’s U23 race at the Celtic International XC at the Stirling in Scotland. Fagan was victorious in the 8000m race which included athletes from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.
The event consisted of a mix of U23 and seniors, Fagan explained how the format made it “hard to know where you were coming”. She knew she was the first Irish native home, but it wasn’t until well after she had finished the race that she realised she had won.
“I didn’t know I won the U23’s until ten minutes after the race, I didn’t expect to win it,” Fagan said.
The Mullingar native also had recent success in the U23 All-Ireland indoor championships last weekend in Athlone, where she placed first in the 800m. Claire also took part in the 1500m race the same day, where she finished 3rd.
Fagan’s main competitor in the 800m was Rose Finnegan from UCD, she knew it would be a tight race between the two. Fagan took the lead for the first 700m, but Finnegan overtook for the last 100m. Fortunately for the DCU student, she caught her on the line to edge out first place..
“I knew Rose was going to sit on me for the race so I just went out hard from the start and she sat in behind me for 700m and then she made her move and passed me on the last bend but I caught her on the line.”
Fagan began competing in Athletics events shortly after she joined her local Athletics club, Mullingar Harriers AC, when she was ten years old. Claire found a love for long distance running and has been competing in long distance races ever since.
“Although I won the 800m last weekend I would say my (main) event is longer than this, I would probably be best between 5-10k,” Fagan told The College View.
Last summer she got selected to run for Ireland in the European U23’s in Sweden, after she completed an outdoor 10K in 36.01 minutes. “This was the first European event I competed in,” she said.
Fagan’s greatest achievement so far in her sporting career happened last December when she competed in the U23’s European Cross Country, where her team placed second in the 6000m event.
“This has to be my greatest achievement to date,” she said.
Currently, it is indoor season for Athletics, so Fagan is hoping to gain a new personal best in the 3K event and when outdoor season starts again, she hopes to get a new 10K personal best this summer.
“I will start to pick up my distances and hopefully get a new 10K personal best this summer,” she said.
DCU athletics has many athletes achieving great things and has been incredibly successful to date. However, when asked about DCU athletics, Claire mentioned how the loss of last years’ Athletics Director Enda Fitzpatrick put a huge dent in the programme at the University.
“Things didn’t go as smoothly when we came back to college this year due to Enda’s absence but we now have Paul Byrne as head of Athletics and he is taking control of the situation and getting things back in order,” she said.
Image Credit: Athletics Ireland