Irish girls ready to rock in Boston
A formidable Irish quartet of Ciara Mageean, Christine McMahon, Katie Kirk and Claire Tarplee will face off against the best of America at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on Saturday night, and hopes are high that they can go one better than their male counterparts, who finished second in the distance medley relay at the Armory Invitational in New York last week. The race takes place at 11:42pm Irish time.
“It’s all going great, and I’m really looking forward to getting in there and having a good race,” said Ciara Mageean, who will run the 1600m leg for the Irish team. “Training has been going well, so I’m looking forward to building myself up for a really good European Indoors and then progressing on to outdoors. I’ve had a troubled past with injuries so I’m really looking forward to getting out there again.
“We have such a strong base of girls coming through, so it’s great to have a team of us out here competing. It’s fantastic we’re over here flying the flag; representing your country is such an honour, so hopefully we’ll do Ireland proud over here.”
Running the 400m leg for Ireland is Christine McMahon, and she’s hoping her 4x400m experience will be put to good use in Saturday night’s distance medley relay, which will be her first try at the event. “It’s a different mentality going into a relay, and I’m hoping to run as quick as I can,” she said. “I’m a wee bit nervous because it’s my first indoor race. I haven’t had too many hiccups, though, so I’m happy enough.”
Katie Kirk will make a quick turnaround from her race in New York last week to run another 800m, but this time it will be the third leg for the Irish team, and she’s excited about her first international outing after choosing to represent Ireland. “I’m really looking forward to it,” she says. “I did my last session on Thursday, and have eased down now. It’s great to be able to get out there as part of a team.”
On the opening 1200m leg will be Claire Tarplee, who is hoping a bigger focus on endurance work this winter will pay dividends through the season. “I swapped coaches in September, so everything’s new,” she says. “I’ll see tomorrow, but I’ll hopefully just run as fast as possible. I honestly don’t know what shape I’m in. I’ve been doing a lot more endurance stuff so hopefully it’ll all pay.
Tarplee, along with the rest of the team, have been enjoying their trip to Boston, and on Friday night were brought on a promotional trip to the local New Balance store by Irishman Keith Kelly, who now works for the brand which currently sponsors Irish athletics. “It’s a lovely trip,” said Tarplee. “We had a little walk around Boston earlier, and it’s been fun.”
Also in action on Saturday night is Ciarán Ó Lionáírd, who will run the men’s mile at 12:02am Irish time (7:02pm Boston time). He will face off against some strong opposition including Nick Willis, Abdalaati Iguider and training partner Ben Blankenship.