STEPHANIE REILLY LEFT London’s Olympic Stadium with her head held high on Saturday after running close to a lifetime best in the opening round of the women’s 3000m steeplechase.
Reilly ran a strong race to finish ninth in the morning’s second heat in 9:44.77, within two seconds of her fastest-ever time of 9:42.91.
With only the top four in each heat and the fastest losers qualifying, it wasn’t enough to see the Wicklow native through to Monday night’s final.
Reilly said that she was pleased with her performance, if a little disappointed not to drop below PB standard.
“I think I ran well today,” she told TheScore.ie afterwards. “I was disappointed with the last 600m obviously. I know I’m in PB shape, I think that’s in the back of my mind so I’m kinda disappointed on that aspect.
I felt I could have gone much faster. A lot of the top people were behind me so you just don’t know how a championship racer is going to go. I went for it, I gave it everything I had, a few seconds off my PB.
I’m pretty strong now running 9:44, so the next time I’ll make that step forward again and be under 9:40.
In the end tiredness stopped her from pushing on in the final two laps, Reilly said.
“Right up until even the 700m, 600m to go I was right on [to go] under. I think even if I had closed the last 300m I would have been on. The last 200m I almost fell in the pit I was so tired and I think I clipped the very last barrier trying to lift my leg over it.
“It is what it is but I’m delighted to be here.”
Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew was the fastest qualifier, winning the third heat in 9:24.01.