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Perfect 7! Sinead Kane is the first visually-impaired athlete to complete World Marathon Challenge

7 marathons, 7 days, 7 continents.

Image: Allianz Ireland

CORK’S SINEAD KANE ran into the record books yesterday as she became the first visually-impaired athlete to complete the World Marathon Challenge — seven marthons on seven continents in seven days.

Despite just 5% vision, Kane and her guide runner John O’Regan finished their incredible journey in Sydney on Sunday with a final marathon time of 4:42:59.

The duo completed their first marathon at Union Glacier, Antarctica on 23 January, before running in Punta Arenas (Chile), Miami (USA), Madrid (Spain), Marrakech (Morocco) and Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

Kane came joint-first in her marathon in Asia and finished sixth in her last in Australia.

“I am trying to take in what I have just achieved over the past week. The last seven days have been a character building experience for me. It’s been a huge adventure,”Kane said afterwards.

kane Kane and O'Regan in Antarctica. Source: Richard O’Donovan.

“I am sad that this experience has come to an end, in a way I am in auto pilot mode, I keep thinking I need to run another marathon tomorrow.

“[In Australia] I kept thinking that I just couldn’t do it, that I just didn’t have it in me to complete the final leg of the World Marathon Challenge. I have had high moments and low moments on this trip over the last week, so thanks for all of the belief and support in me.”

During the week-long event, competitors flew by charter plane and ran standard 42.2km marathon distances.

Having started running five years ago after completing the 2012 Mini Marathon, Kane had been training for the World Marathon Challenge since last year.

Sinead Kane and John O’Regan Sinead Kane and John O'Regan. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“I’ve had this challenge on my mind since about January 2016 so it’s not something that’s just developed overnight,” Kane told The42 earlier this month before she flew off.

“I suppose it shows that, with any goals, there has to be preparation and you have to be willing to put in the hard work and, of course, having to raise the money.

“But I think that might make it a bit more rewarding, that I’ve put in the hard work. That said, there’s definitely been times over the last year that I’ve wanted to give up, to walk away.”

The Youghal woman has made sporting history before — two years ago, she became the first visually-impaired Irish person to run an ultra-marathon in Ireland.

Kane also qualified as Ireland’s first legally blind solicitor in 2009.

The original article was updated with quotes from Kane and photographs.

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Emma Duffy

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