Accidental Irish athlete selected to represent Australia

Novice contender: Erris native Sinéad Diver took up competitive running four years ago

Sinéad Diver from Belmullet, Co Mayo, has just been confirmed on the Australian team for the IAAF world contest in Beijing.

Sinéad Diver from Belmullet, Co Mayo, has just been confirmed on the Australian team for the IAAF world contest in Beijing.

 

A Mayo woman, who took up competitive running accidentally just four years ago, has been selected to represent Australia in this year’s athletics world championships in China.

Sinéad Diver, (38), from Belmullet, Co Mayo, has just been confirmed as one of three female marathon runners on the Australian team for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) world contest in Beijing later this summer.

The mother of two, who says she is very proud to have been selected, admits that she was “oblivious to the whole running scene” when she lived in Ireland.

She was ranked third fastest female marathon runner in Australia last year; she won the national half marathon championships in 2012 and came second in the 2012 and 2014 national cross country races.

She recorded a time of 2 hours 34 minutes and 15 seconds in her first 26-miler, the Melbourne Marathon, last October.

“Climbing cliffs in Erris and a bit of swimming” were Diver’s favoured pursuits as a child, according to her father Eddie Diver who say she and his wife Bridie have been “over the moon and back again, several times” since her selection was confirmed last week.

Diver played basketball, and studied physical education in the University of Limerick, but opted for information technology as a career. She emigrated to Australia 12 years ago, and she and her husband Colin, from Limerick, have two young sons, Eddie “Beag” (5) and Dara (1).

Two of her four siblings have also been living in Australia, although her brother is enroute home and may try to join her in China.

Diver says she had taken up “ a bit of running “ for fitness purposes, and was on maternity leave when her sister Gráinne asked her to fill in at the last minute in a team-based fortnightly running event.

One of her team members noticed her ability, suggested she join a running club, and she then met coach Tom Crosbie who took her under his wing.

She joined the South Melbourne Athletic Club, and surprised herself by coming second in the Victoria 5000 metres championships.

She says her world championship selection is an “unbelievable opportunity” and something that she would never have imagined a few years ago. Her ultimate goal would be to run the marathon at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Her father Eddie is a retired civil servant,originally from Donegal’s Gaoth Dóbhair, who represented the Erris Inshore Fishermen’s Association in tough negotiations with Shell over the laying of the Corrib gas offshore pipeline.