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Belmullet native qualifies for Olympics


FAMILY TIES Members of Sinead Diver’s family from Belmullet are pictured at the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing, supporting Sinead. From left, Colm, Grainne, Eddie and Bridie. Pic: Sportsfile

SUNDAY’S women’s London Marathon was billed as the greatest and deepest line-up ever put together, with no obvious favourite. There were four current major marathon champions in the line-up – Vivian Cheruiyot (London), Mary Keitany (New York), Brigid Kosgei (Chicago) and Gladys Cherono (Berlin.
For Belmullet native and Mayo AC member, Sinéad Diver it was a chance to race. Her 2:25:19 from Melbourne in October 2018 ranked her in the top half of the elite field on times, but she never raced in a field the quality of London.
It was exciting to watch Sinéad compete with the best in the world. She ran an excellently paced race reaching 10k in 33:43 and halfway in 71:22 and always up with the pace.
Before halfway she led the field by about 30 seconds for a few kilometres, but the chasing group put in a 5:08 mile surge to pass her and contest the lead from there on.
Maintaining consistent 5k splits she covered the second half in 72:49 to finish in a fantastic 7th place in 2:24.11.
As a top ten finisher is this event — one of the World Marathon Majors — she has achieved her goal to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. Her finish time was also another personal best, just over a minute faster than her Melbourne Marathon time 2:25.19.
It also means she is a step closer to Catherina McKiernan’s Irish record of 2:22.23 from 1998 when Catherina was aged 29.
“That was real good fun,” she said afterwards. “I wasn’t expecting to lead, obviously. I made a joke about that yesterday. I was really freaked out and didn’t want to look behind, I didn’t know where everybody was!
“That was the main goal for today (qualification for Tokyo). Marathon running in Australia is very strong at the moment but hopefully I have done enough to get there.”
Congratulations to Sinéad on a magnificent performance – Mayo AC are very proud of her well deserved success.
Sinéad will be able to relax and recover before rejoining the group at Melbourne Track Club where she trains under Nic Bideau.
Congratulations also to James Murtagh of Mayo AC who completed the marathon in a great time of 4:45.33.

Tom Hunt