DCU Phd researcher becomes first visually impaired athlete to complete seven marathons in seven days

Sinead Kane competing in one of seven back to back marathons.


DCU PHD researcher Sinead Kane became the first visually impaired athlete to complete the World Marathon Challenge this week. Sinead successfully ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents with just 5% vision.

Sinead ran the week-long event with her guide runner John O’ Regan. They began their journey in Antarctica on 23rd January, making Sydney the finishing point to their final marathon. They finished the marathon with an impressive completion time of 4:42:49.

The seven marathons took place in Union Glacier (Antarctica), Punta Arenas (Chile), Miami (USA), Madrid (Spain), Marrakech (Morocco), and Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

She placed joint-first place in her marathon in Asia and came in at sixth place in her final marathon in Australia.

Sinead has made history books by running a standard 42.2km marathon distances with almost no sight.

She said following the race, “I am trying to take in what I have just achieved over the past week. The last seven days have been a character building experience for me. It’s been a huge adventure. “I am sad that this experience has come to an end, in a way I am in auto pilot mode, I keep thinking I need to run another marathon tomorrow.”

“[In Australia] I kept thinking that I just couldn’t do it, that I just didn’t have it in me to complete the final leg of the World Marathon Challenge. I have had high moments and low moments on this trip over the last week, so thanks for all of the belief and support in me.”

She began her training for her marathon journey five years ago in 2012, inspired by her participation in the Women’s Mini Marathon that year.

This is not the first time the Irish woman has made history, just two years ago she became the first visually impaired Irish person to run an ultramarathon in Ireland. This is a long-distance running race which is even longer than a marathon.

A woman of many talents, Sinead also qualified as Ireland’s first legally blind solicitor in 2009.

Aoife Marnell

Image Credit: RTE