Update from Down Under, and more

A few months ago we reported on the athletic achievements of Belmullet native Sinéad Diver in her adopted city of Melbourne. She ran a great first time marathon in October 2:32:15, and shot into the list of top ten all-time best Irish women over the 26.2 mile distance. Sinéad has been a member of South Melbourne AC for a few years and late in 2014 she registered with Mayo AC as her Irish club.  https://www.mayoac.com/sinead-diver-joins-mayo-ac/.
We’re delighted and proud to have her among our record 2015 membership.
The athletics season in Australia is different to ours for obvious climatic reasons – their Cross Country and Road Racing season extends from April to September –  and for South Melbourne AC events are held at various venues in the metropolitan and regional areas across Victoria. The Victoria Athletics XCR ’15 series has just started. It is a team-based, comprising six individual races and three relay races, catering to all ages and abilities. Sinéad overcame some injury problems recently and took part in the first race of this series last weekend. Across the state of Victoria there are five women’s divisions competing  in the series. South Melbourne AC’s top women’s team are in the Premier Division, and other members make up teams competing in the other divisions.
The first race was the Jell’s Park Relays, part of the Victoria cross country relay championship. It was over a 3k lap on grassland and dense pine forest. The four team members ran two laps each (6k) and combined time determined results. In the women’s divisions Sinéad ran the fastest lap of the day 21:10 and her team were placed 3rd in Premier section. A brilliant start to her season and we wish her and the club success. The next race is at Lardner Park in a couple of weeks over ‘rolling pastures, and involves plenty of hills, ditches and fences’!

You can see some action from Jell’s Park here – Sinéad is wearing bib 94 and can be seen in action from about 6 minutes of the 9+ minute clip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cSKjYMRlWKU

There was a record 1182 participants in the event. Current Australian track stars were such as Collis Birmingham were among them, warming up on the Northern Hemisphere racing circuit ahead of Rio. Also competing for the Ballarat club was one 52 year old, Steve Moneghetti, a four time Olympian and famous distance runner and winner on the world stage over twenty years from the late 80s. He had a top marathon time of 2:08:16 in Berlin and won a bronze in the world marathon championships, Steve ran the London Marathon five times and his best finish there was 2nd (2:08:33) in 1995 behind Dominic Ceron (Mexico) in a very exciting finish.  I was among the thousands right behind him at the start at Blackheath Park, but I had to let him go after about 15 metres. I made the finish at the Mall 92 minutes behind him. It was a warm day 20c but I knocked 14 mins off my first marathon time on the same course in ’94 after which I’d vowed never to run a marathon again. A familiar story. For the record, although more comfortable with the longer distances Steve ran a 15:19 road 5k pb in 2012 at the age of 50.

The 35th London Marathon takes place on Sunday morning and the top finishers will be in The Mall around the time registration opens for the Move2Improve ‘Run for Boylo’ in Foxford. The great Paula Radcliffe is going to start, ‘unfit but healthy’ at the age of 41. She holds the top three best ever marathon times for women. Some members will recall seeing her magnificent world record 2:15:25 finish in the Finn Valley AC clubhouse in Ballybofey after we competed in the National 10k in April 2003. Our senior women’s team won bronze there.

Check out the Paula pre London story here: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/athletics/32423829

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