Andrew Coscoran: Ireland's Middle Distance Maestro

July 08, 2024

By Phil Knox

Andrew Coscoran is Ireland's national record holder for 1500m and heads to the Paris Olympics as our top-ranked athlete for that distance. Competing in his second Olympics, Coscoran is perhaps Ireland’s best prospect for the event. His career has seen its share of ups and downs, but most recently has been on an upward trajectory.

Early Beginnings and Juvenile Successes

Despite dabbling in the sport at a young age, Andrew’s interest in athletics did not really ignite until secondary school when he joined Star of the Sea Athletics Club. Throughout his teenage years, he was competitive at local, regional and national level. Initially participating in both sprint and distance events cross-country was soon added to his repertoire of success. As he progressed into his upper teenage years a particular affinity for the metric mile began to emerge. In 2015 he became a finalist in the European Junior Championships when he finished 8th in the 1500m.

American Setbacks & Rebuilding at the Dublin Track Club

After his formative successes, he had firmly placed himself on the radar of American universities. In 2016, Coscoran accepted a scholarship to Florida State University. These institutions are famed for developing Irish athletes with access to top-quality coaching and training facilities. The American University system does not suit everyone as was the case with Andrew. After a challenging year, he returned home to Ireland seeking an alternative athletics structure within a domestic environment.

Back home again he gained a qualification as a personal trainer in 2016 and tried to re-structure his athletics career. In May 2017 at age 20, he made a significant breakthrough on the track, clocking 3:41.2 for the 1500m at a meet in Belgium. This performance was the catalyst he needed and it earned him another scholarship, this time to Dublin City University.

Unfortunately injuries prevailed in 2018, and the Meath native was sidelined from major athletics events, leaving his future in the sport uncertain. However, things began to turn around in late 2018 when he linked up with Feidhlim Kelly at the renowned Dublin Track Club. Under Kelly's guidance, Andrew reintroduced much-needed structure to his training and diet regimen, helping him overcome his injuries and regain his form.

Reflecting on this period in an interview with the Irish Examiner in 2021, Andrew stated, “Once you make a mistake in athletics, you learn from it and you get better, and the product at the end when you get to senior level is a combination of making mistakes and learning.”

National Success and Tokyo Qualification

In July 2019, he lowered his personal best at a meet in Belgium and entered the national senior 1500m championship as a favourite. A scuffle coming off the bend did not give him the result he wanted. Despite this setback, he put in a respectable performance at the European Athletics Team Championships in Norway in August.

2020 dawned with optimism. In the spring, the rejuvenated Coscorcan ran an impressive race in Boston, lowering his personal best to 3:37.98. At that moment his potential participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics seems more of a possibility than a dream.

Continuing to train during Covid yielded dividend and like many athletes during this time, it allowed for further progression into 2021. In June 2021, he delivered an impressive performance at a meet in Sweden, lowering his personal best to 3:35.66. This achievement boosted his rankings sufficiently to secure his qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. Just two weeks later, he won his first Irish national senior title in the 1500 metres, taking his place as Ireland’s leading middle distance runner.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Andrew put in a solid performance in his heat, earning qualification for the semi-final, where he ran a season's best time. It was however, not enough to qualify for the final. Andrew in a post-race interview with the Irish Independent stated: “I put it all out there... The plan was to stay connected to the pack, no matter where it was, just try hold on. That was the best race of my life”.

Coscoran continued to have a solid season throughout 2022, competing in the semi-final of the World Championships and then later the final of the European Championships over his by now signature distance of 1500m. These experiences on the international stage were invaluable, and he carried that momentum into 2023. With his sights now set on representing Ireland at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, Andrew’s aspirations and performances remained strong.

Breaking Records and Paris Qualification

2023 delivered an epic moment for Coscoran. At a meeting in Nice, France, he broke Ray Flynn's long-standing Irish national record for 1500 metres, which had stood since 1982, with a time of 3:32.68. This performance not only took nearly a second off Flynn's record but also put Coscoran well under the Olympic qualifying standard, ensuring his place in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Less than a month later, he shattered his own record, taking a remarkable 2.26 seconds off at a meeting in Poland.

With Olympic qualification secured well in advance of the games, the focus shifted to preparation interluded with some key races. At the European Championships in Rome last month, he made the final of the 1500m and finished 13th in a time of 3:34.76, just two seconds off the season’s best he had achieved at the Bislett Games in Oslo the previous month. Rome was the third major final he had made in the past three years – classifying him as finalist potential for majors.

Andrew Coscoran’s journey to the 2024 Paris Olympics is a tale of ups and downs. His recent achievements, notably breaking and then surpassing the Irish national record for 1500 metres, certainly cements his status as Ireland's leading contender in the event.


As he heads to Paris, Coscoran carries with him not only impressive times but also a wealth of experience from past international competitions. This should help him more than ever before in terms of race strategies. With his preparation focused and a solid season behind him, Andrew stands ready to make his mark on the Olympic stage.

We wish him every success.

Image: Perri Williams

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