Our International 20×20 Women in Sport Award this week goes to an Irishwoman who in all likelihood will be competing in the Tokyo Olympics next year wearing the green and golf of her adopted Australia. She is marathon runner Sinead Diver who last weekend once again proved that age is no barrier when it comes to marathon running. Just shy of her 43rd birthday she finished a superb fifth best woman in the New York Marathon, with a time of 2:26:23 over what is one of the toughest of all the big city courses. Sinead a Mayo woman earlier this year ran 2:24:11 in London where she finished seventh best woman having led at the halfway stage. Just over a month ago she ran 31:25:49 to finish 14th in the World Championships 10,000 in the searing heat of Doha.
A mother of two Sinead works as a full time software developer. With around 52,500 starters New York is the biggest of the big city marathons, the testing course, winds through the Five Boroughs, before finishing up through the rolling hills of Central Park. New York would not be a favourite course for Sinead as it is hilly and she prefers flat courses, but she felt that the experience of just racing for placing would be great practice leading into Tokyo. Her 2:24:11 from London is almost certain to get her on the start line for that Olympic marathon next summer, New York will likely be her last marathon before the Olympics. Having missed out on the Rio Olympics 2016 due to a knee injury, competing in Tokyo will be extra special for Diver.
Recently she has a small leave of absence from here full-time work as a software developer in order to prepare for New York, “If you feel good enough to do it then give it a go,” she says about racing so competitively at age 42. “Nobody else can tell you what your body is capable of. There is nothing to suggest that when you turn 40 you need to fall apart. It hasn’t happened for me and I feel fitter than I was ten years ago. If I can do it then I can’t see why other people can’t do it too.” And so say all of us. Another truly inspirational woman!