Australian marathon runner Sinead Diver thought her chances of reaching the Olympics was all but gone but she has qualified for Tokyo 2020.
A seventh-placed finish at the London marathon, she ran a qualifying time of 2:24:11 could see her make the Australian team for the 2020 Olympics.
Diver’s time is the third-fastest in Australian history and the fastest by an Australian for over 12 years.
"Making the Olympic team would be a dream come true for me," Diver wrote in a PlayersVoice piece.
"It may not have been a childhood one, but that doesn’t make it any less significant."
However, her race time at the London Marathon, which was a personal best by 1:08 minutes, was overshadowed with media choosing to refer to Diver as ‘the 42-year-old’ with everyone else referred to by their first or last name.
"I find it extremely frustrating that a lot of the media attention I get is mainly focused on my age," she said.
"I know, in some ways, it’s meant to be complimentary.
"Not a lot of athletes continue to find success in their 40s but I’ve been running for a relatively short period of time, so it’s a very different scenario for me."
The Irish-born runner first came to Australia on a one-year working-holiday visa in 2002 and only stumbled across running nine years ago at the age of 33.
She wanted to get fit after the birth of her first son, Eddie and her sister, who also lives in Australia, asked Diver to join her work team for the Corporate Cup event (a fortnightly team relay held at The Tan).
"One of the guys on the team was surprised at how fast I ran a lap of the Tan off zero training and he suggested I join a recreational running group, the Crosby Crew, and that’s where my love of running started," she said.
In her first marathon back in 2014 Diver clocked a World Championship qualifier. However, being a dual citizen, she was eligible to represent both Australia and Ireland.
Sadly, Athletics Ireland (AI) had other times and a month after clocking 2:34:15 in Melbourne, AI changed their qualifying standard to 2:33:30.
"This was a bit of a blow for me at the time," Diver said.
"I took it quite personally and couldn’t understand why they would intentionally exclude me from the team."
However, Athletics Australia offered her a spot on the team. While a year later, Diver thought she missed her chance of going to an Olympics after she missed Rio through injury, fast forward another three years and the Melbourne local could pull on the green and gold in Tokyo.
"...here I am, almost four years later with the fastest qualified marathon time for the Aussie team and a real chance of making it to Tokyo," she said.