Athletics

UCC Athlete Phil Healy Wasn't Even Going To Compete In The Race Which Went Viral

UCC Athlete Phil Healy Wasn't Even Going To Compete In The Race Which Went Viral

Phil Healy put the international media on hold this evening so she could talk to Balls.ie's The Racket podcast.

There can be scarcely a person in the country who hasn't seen it at this stage. The UCC athlete was handed the baton at the beginning of the final lap while the leader was a quarter of the way round the track.

It transpires that she wasn't even going to run the race at all. Cooling down after her 200m race it, she agreed to run the final leg just to get her teammates out of a jam.

It was her first ever 4x4 400 relay and only her second ever 400m.

I finished the 200m twenty minutes before the relay so I went into the indoor area to cool down. And one of the girls came up to me and said 'would you have any interest in running the 4x4. And I said 'okay, if you're stuck, throw me into the last leg', because I had never run a 4x4 before. And it was my second 400m ever. I didn't want the pressure of going out and having to put the team in a good position. SO I said I'd take the baton for the last leg and try and hold the position or pick off one or two,if I could. Then it escalated pretty quickly.

Her ambitions at the beginning of the final lap were modest enough.

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I got the baton in fifth position and I was trying to hold that position. So I went controlled down the back straight, closing in on the DCU athlete. With 200m to go she was still ahead, and I just got closer and closer. Then with 130 to go, she was right next to me. Then I got closer to third and it was just taking them one after the other.

It was a bit of a dive over the line but it was only a few cuts. Got back up straight away. Nothing that's going to knock me down. The face got a bit of a bang allright.

What were Phil's thoughts as she was charging down the final straight? Was she aware of the staggering nature of the run as she screamed into first place in the last few yards? In fact, even in the immediate aftermath of the race, her primary feeling was satisfaction that UCC had picked up maximum points.

It was just pure adrenaline. Initially, I just wanted to pick off each one as I went. So, when I got to third and then got to second I was like 'okay, keep kicking here and try and pick off first and just trying to hold it to the line'. But when I crossed the line I thought nothing of it. It was just team points, maximum points to the college. And until it went viral and you see it it so many times back, you realise it was a very good finish there.

What has it been like over the past couple of days? She's in the eye of a media frenzy.

 It's actually been pretty crazy. When I came back to Cork on Saturday night, the races were over. I watched the races back on the stream, I did get a few messages from other Irish athletes saying well done or whatever.

The Washington Post were on last night. New Zealand and Australia. European atheltics have shared it. It was on ESPN last night. Good Morning America this morning.

Read more: 'UCC From The Depths Of Hell' - Irish 4x400m Relay Takes Drama To Extraordinary Level

Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney

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