Athletics

Sinead Diver's Incredible Story Shows It's Never Too Late To Take Up Running

Sinead Diver's Incredible Story Shows It's Never Too Late To Take Up Running

Sinead Diver finished seventh in the London Marathon on Sunday, a great achievement by the Irish-born runner. Her time of 2:24:11 - a personal best by more than a minute - also qualifies her for next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

What makes Diver's story most remarkable is that she only took up running a decade ago following the birth of her first child.

The 42-year-old moved to Australia in 2002 and now competes for her adopted nation after Athletics Ireland moved the goalposts when she set a qualifying time for the 2015 World Championships.

"It's almost ten years ago that I started running," Diver told the RTÉ Radio One's Ray D'Arcy Show.

I was 32 at the time. I started running recreationally with a social group and got serious about it maybe four years ago. I went to Beijing in 2015. I've really got into it since then.

I ran 2:24.11 [in London]. That qualifies me but the team won't be officially selected until next April or May so I need to hang until then to make sure of it. After yesterday's results I'm in a strong position, which is good.

Diver actually led Sunday's race at the halfway point, something she says was not in the plan going into the event.

"It was a really really strong field. I expected the Africans to go to the front and I expected to be two groups behind actually. But everyone started slowly. It was very windy and nobody wanted to go to the front.

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"I was determined to get a good time so I needed to race from the start and not kind of race from the halfway, which the Africans like to do. They like to get to halfway and then put in a strong second half, but for me it's better to go from the start, so I did. I ended up leading for 23km."

Diver added that the support she received during the race was amazing. Her family travelled over from Ireland while her husband Colin watched it on TV with their two sons, Eddie, who is nine and Darragh, who is five.

"Most people would have a running career that would span 20 years or so. Just because I started later in life I don't think that needs to be cut short or anything," said Diver.

I'm 42, not 92. People seem to think you shouldn't be able to run after you're 40. I think I'm proving them wrong. I'm proud of that.

Diver has competed at two World Championships for Australia. She finished 21st in Beijing in 2015 and 20th in London in 2017.

"I did qualify for Ireland in 2015," she explained, "but Athletics Ireland changed the qualifying time after I ran my marathon. So I didn't qualify for them in the end. They set their own standard so I run for Australia and have done since 2015.

"I'd be really proud to represent either country. I've lived nearly half my life in Australia and nearly half my life in Ireland. I feel like I represent both countries so I think I'm in a very privileged position."

Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

See Also: 18-Year-Old Kate O'Connor Breaks Irish Senior Heptathlon Record

PJ Browne
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