Ciara Mageean aims to bounce back from Stockholm struggle in three further races

I always believed I could be world class - Mageean

Ciara Mageean plans a busy racing schedule to conclude her summer season despite her disappointing run in Stockholm on Sunday.

After stunning Irish record runs in Bern and Monaco, Mageean, 28, believes "tiredness" led to her below-par 1500m outing in the Swedish capital.

The Portaferry athlete will now "focus on recovery" before racing again over 1500m in Ostrava on 8 September.

"I have three more races planned," Mageean told BBC Sport NI.

"They are on my timetable anyway and me and (coach) Steve (Vernon) will see how we feel."

After the metric mile outing in the Czech Republic, the twice European bronze medallist is scheduled to run again over 1500m in Berlin five days later before wrapping up her campaign with an 800m outing at the Diamond League meeting in Rome on 17 September.

'I'm in the best shape I've ever been in'

The Irish athlete's Stockholm struggle, when she trailed homed 12th in a pedestrian 4:10.99 as Laura Muir took victory in 3:57.86, has in no way altered her conviction that she is in the best form of her career.

In a four-week period before Sunday's race as the summer campaign began belatedly, Mageean became the first Irishwoman to break two minutes for the 800m and then smashed Sonia O'Sullivan's 27-year national 1,000m record with a performance which put her ninth in the all-time list for the distance.

"I know that I'm fit and I'm strong and in the best shape I've ever been in. It's an exciting place to be.

"With the disappointment of Sunday, I'll work on that, I'll process it and figure out where I went wrong and I'll be on that and be stronger next time round.

"I had such two good races over the 800m and 1,000m previously. Maybe I didn't appreciate the amount of physical effort that takes out of my body to run the two fastest times that I've ever run or the emotional volume that has.

"So honestly, I think I went into Stockholm a little bit tired, a bit under-recovered."

Mageean 'closing the gap' on the world's best

The county Down woman firmly believes her two recent world-class performances demonstrated an athlete "closing the gap" on the world's top middle distance runners.

Mageean asked that very question of coach Vernon after clocking a new 1500m personal best of 4:00.15 at last year World Championships final in Doha which still left her over eight seconds behind Dutch winner Sifan Hassan, as the first six all went under 3:57.

"As much as I was so bitterly disappointed that the Olympics were postponed, I viewed it really as a blessing in disguise.

"It gave me an extra year to close the gap. My 800m and my 1km have shown that I am there. I've rattled a few cages.

"People now look at the Irish flag coming up alongside them on the startlist and think 'watch that girl'.

"I always believed that I had the potential to be a world-class athlete. I would see those two races, maybe not Sunday, have really confirmed for me that belief and I certainly believe that I can be there in an Olympic final and to be competing among the best.

"I was so excited with those first two races to come out and run national records in both and to take a goal that had been on my mind for so long which was to run under two minutes for 800m and to be the first Irishwoman to do so."

Ciara Mageean is besieged by autograph hunters after her indoor win in Athlone earlier this year
Ciara Mageean is one of Irish sport's most popular performers

Mageean embraces role model status

Mageean's honesty, charm and the physical and emotional effort she invests in her running and which is so visible, has made her one of Irish sport's most popular performers and her role model status - particular for young girls - is something the Portaferry woman embraces.

"Being a female athlete, as I was growing up I realised the disparity in the sport.

"The men always got the best training venues. They always got the most publicity.

"I feel as a woman I should be a role model for all it shouldn't just be for the girls but particularly for young girls who don't necessarily have those role models up there. It's something that I'm very proud of."

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