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Sunday 23 September 2018

Diver making mark in Australia

AUSSIE WIN: Sinéad Diver, Photo: Sportsfile
AUSSIE WIN: Sinéad Diver, Photo: Sportsfile

Slipping through the cracks in the last few weeks was an extraordinary performance by Mayo-born athlete Sinéad Diver.

At the Australian Half Marathon Championships in Maroochydore last month, Diver ran a personal best 69 mins 20 secs. Only Sonia O'Sullivan with 67:19 and Catherina McKiernan with 67:50 have run faster.

Diver has proved unstoppable this season. In June, she won the Launceston 10km in a personal best 31.59 - almost a minute quicker than a year earlier. She then clocked 69:53 for a close second in the Gold Coast Half Marathon in early July. A few weeks later, she won the Sydney Harbour 10km in 32.43.

Internationally, she finished 23rd at the World Half Marathon Championships in Spain last March in a time of 71.40. Her marathon best of 2:31.37 from March 2017 would put her fifth on the all-time Irish list.

Diver made her international debut in the marathon at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing also qualifying for London two years later.

Not bad for a woman who only took up running nine years ago when she was roped into a corporate fun race.

So why isn't she running for Ireland? Although Diver is Irish through and through, she and husband Colin emigrated to Australia fifteen years ago. They're now happily settled in Melbourne with two young sons.

Her big ambition now is to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. To that end, Diver will run an autumn marathon, where a sub 2 hrs 30 mins time is the target. Ireland's loss is very definitely Australia's gain.

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