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Mayo's 41-year-old marathon runner Sinead Diver wins Australian title at Zatopek 10,000m

Diver won the 2018 Melbourne Marathon and has aspirations to represent Australia at the 2020 Olympics.

Diver pictured in Sydney after winning the Women's 10km race during the Love Your Sister Run in July.
Diver pictured in Sydney after winning the Women's 10km race during the Love Your Sister Run in July.
Image: AAP/PA Images

THE INCREDIBLE PROGRESSION of Mayo-born marathon runner Sinead Diver continued apace on Thursday, with the 41-year-old mother-of-two claiming the Australian title at the Zatopek 10,000m race.

The annual event held in Melbourne saw her finish in second place overall behind Japan’s Niiya Hitomi, with Diver recording an impressive time of 31:50.98 which represented a new personal best.

Her display comes at the end of a phenomenal 2018 which saw Diver become the second-fastest ever Irish-born woman over the marathon distance with a time of 2:25:19 in first place at the Melbourne Marathon back in October.

Thursday’s finish was one second away from securing a qualification spot for the World Championships in Doha, however the Belmullet native was far from dissatisfied with her excellent performance.

“I come away with the National title and big PB for 10,000m so can’t be too disappointed,” she said afterwards.

Diver, who also won the Women’s 10km race during the Love Your Sister Run in August, moved to Australia with no experience of long-distance running 16 years ago and works as a part-time IT Worker.

In 2014 she finished second in the Melbourne Marathon on her second time taking part in the race, with Australia soon after getting in touch to offer her the chance to represent them at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.

She has represented her adopted country ever since, with her performance at this year’s Melbourne Marathon the fourth-fastest in Australian history and the fourth-fastest on Australian soil, with only the three medallists from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney holding better times.

In the process she also broke Lisa Weightman’s previous course record (2:26:05 in 2013), earning Diver AUS $40,000 prize money in October — with the current Irish record holder, Catherina McKiernan (2:22:23), only seven years older than Diver, yet produced her time 20 years ago.

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Speaking to The42 in October, the mother-of-two explained that her day often begins at 5.30am with training prior to work, while she does more after dinner and “once the boys are settled”. When training for marathons, she can do up to 280km per week, while her social life frequently “takes a hit”.

“It’s full-on,” she said. “But nobody’s making me do it either, it’s my choice. I absolutely love running. I’m really lucky that I have a bit of flexibility to do that, I can fit it in.”

Diver, who has befriended Sonia O’Sullivan since moving to Australia, has aspirations to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, having missed out in 2016 due to an ankle injury.

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Eddie O’Sullivan preview another big weekend of Heineken Cup action and dissect the week’s main talking points.

Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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Aaron Gallagher

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