Australia’s Sinead Diver hopes to reach the Tokyo Olympics qualification standard and run well in New York on Sunday

Diver finished 21st in the marathon in Beijing and followed it up with 20th at the IAAF World Championships London 2017. Since making her breakthrough into world class territory with a clocking of 2:25:19 at last year’s Melbourne Marathon, she has joined the Melbourne Track Club coached by Nick Bideau, parting ways with her long-time coach Tim Crosbie.

“I got a great base with Tim and the ‘Crosbie Crew’ but moving to Nick has helped me take the next step in my running career. I’ve moved to the next level and my training has changed quite a bit. I’m now training in a group of elite athletes and being around them has made a massive difference to my running. I’m really glad I made the move.”

The switch has paid dividends with Diver, finishing an impressive seventh at this year’s London Marathon in 2:24:11, securing qualification for next year’s Tokyo Olympics. She followed it up with 14th in the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019 with 31:25.49, just half a second outside the automatic Olympic qualification standard.

“The London Marathon was brilliant. I went there aiming for 2:23 but unfortunately it was a bit windy. I led the race for half of it which was unexpected and was a bit of fun. I really loved the experience.”

With Olympic qualification secured, Diver will look to place highly in New York on Sunday, rather than focus on bettering her PB.

“New York will be hilly and I prefer flat courses, but the experience of just racing for placing will be great practice leading into Tokyo. To get the opportunity to run in that calibre of field in New York is really special.”

New York will likely be the 42-year-old’s last marathon before the Olympics. Having missed out on Rio 2016 due to a knee injury caused by the cuboid bone in her foot, competing in Tokyo will be extra special for Diver.

“Missing out on Rio was really hard to stomach, so to compete in Tokyo would be a dream come true. The Olympics is the pinnacle of sport. It would be amazing to be part of it.”

Now aged 42 and showing no signs of slowing down, Diver believes it’s never too late to take up a sport for the first time and that people should ignore those who say it’s not possible to excel at a mature age.

“If you feel good enough to do it then give it a go. 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.”

posted Wednesday October 30th