Sinéad Kane, Blind marathon runner‘I have 95% deficit in my vision, but I know where I am going.’

As heard on The Ryan Tubridy Show

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Never say never. Or rather, as Sinéad Kane would say, never let anybody else say “never” to you.

Born with only 5% vision, Sinéad is a solicitor and PhD researcher from Cork. Now 34 years old, she took up running seriously just four years ago, in 2012, when she competed in the 2012 Mini Marathon. Since then, Sinéad has completed many marathons and, in 2015, became the first visually impaired Irish woman to run an ultra marathon in her home country.

Now, as she told Ryan Tubridy this morning, she embarks on her greatest physical challenge, the latest in a series of challenges she has faced in her young, but eventful life.

But let’s start with that physical challenge.

“In January 2016, my guide runner said to me, ‘what do you want to do now, any new year’s resolutions?’ I said,’ I want to create a Guinness world record…. A record not in Ireland… A record that will last for a number of years’. He came back and said, ‘have you heard of a thing called the World Marathon Challenge. It encompasses running seven marathons in seven continents in seven days’.”

And that was that. Sinéad set herself the challenge.

In a wide-ranging interview, Sinéad opened up about the significant bullying as a child, when she started in school. She describes bullying as being “like a shark in the water; we all know it’s there, even though we can’t see it.”

Later in her educational life, when she was looking to university and planning a career, she was dissuaded from applying for her chosen subject, law, on the basis that it was “reading heavy” as a discipline, and it would be beyond her.

Her parents were having none of it, and took to London, where she met a blind British judge, demonstrating that anything was possible, including her chosen educational and career field.

During the interview, Ryan reminded Sinéad of a quote which was attributed to her, “A lot of people have full sight, but no vision.” But Sinead reworded it as follows.

“I have 95% deficit in my vision, but I know where I am going.”

This afternoon, Sinéad will fly out of Ireland on the first leg of her journey to complete seven marathons in seven days on seven continents.

“I am coming back with his world record. Failure, for me, is not an option.”

This was one of the comments Sinéad signed off with. And if you’d like to follow her progress on the World Marathon Challenge, you can do so with her Twitter handle, @blindrunner777

And to listen to the full interview with Ryan, click here.

© The Listener 2017

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