"I was letting that chimp run riot" - Ciara Mageean


Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

17.37 20 Aug 2019


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The next few weeks - a year out from the Olympics - is going to be a busy one for Ciara Mageean.

The 2016 Olympian takes part in the Morton Games in Santry on Wednesday, before heading out to Doha for the World Championships in October.

The 27-year-old middle-distance runner will be hoping to go at least one better than her fourth-place finish at the 2018 European Championships.

She joined Joe Molloy in studio to discuss her trajectory. But she also shared a fascinating insight into the growth of mental fortitude on the track.

It dates back to a tearful night of sudden worries ahead of a European Championship race in Berlin.

"A lot of things had changed in my setup going into that," she explained.

Tough Memories

"I had moved to my new team in Manchester that previous winter. Had a rocky beginning, and I raced the World Indoors and it did not go well.

"It was a very bad World Indoors and I was bringing along some pretty tough memories.

"I had a really rocky 2017, had ups and downs throughout that summer. Your mind is your best friend and your worst enemy. It'll often remember the negatives quicker than it'll remember the positives.

"I chat to [my coach] Steve about it now and it's a joke between us. 'Ah, you had your wee meltdown before Berlin, didn't you?'

"I had called Steve and asked, 'Are you coming to the hotel? I need to chat'. And he arrived and we sat in the bar in this hotel in Berlin that looked very seedy. But it was part of the hotel.

"Strange looking bar. But me and Steve sitting chatting in this little bay and he was like, 'What's wrong?' He was like, 'Ciara, you're in great shape'. He had seen all of my training and he was giving me all the facts. Steve was presenting me with all the facts but the monkey or the chimp as we like to call it... I was letting that chimp run riot in my head."

But as Mageean explained, she has learned to channel those pre-race nerves in a better way.

"For me, it was writing down the facts, looking at them and saying, 'I'm being silly,'" she said.

"It's something as simple as that. But you have to put the chimp back in its cage and tell it to behave."

You can watch the full interview with Ciara Mageean above. She also discusses her early involvement in camogie.


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