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'That event brought me to a low point' | Sinéad Kane on her legal fight

Ultrarunner Sinéad Kane explained her legal fight to be involved in last year's Ultrarunning Wor...

'That event brought me to a lo...
Other Sports

'That event brought me to a low point' | Sinéad Kane on her legal fight

Ultrarunner Sinéad Kane explained her legal fight to be involved in last year's Ultrarunning World Championship 24-hour race, at Off The Ball’s roadshow in Capital Dock.

Kane, who had met all the qualification requirements, alleged she was denied a place on the Irish team because the International Association of Ultrarunning deemed her guide runner to be an “unfair advantage” over her fully-sighted competitors.

“I was expecting to see my name on the Athletics Ireland website last August when the selection was there because only two or three other females had the qualification at the time,” Kane said.

“My name wasn’t there and I questioned it. [There was] a lot of back and forth with different people and then come September the IAU’s (International Association of Ultrarunning] attitude was, ‘you can’t compete because for you to use a guide runner would be an unfair advantage to fully-sighted runners.’

“And I said to them, ‘okay, I have the solution: if it’s an unfair advantage let all the fully-sighted runners wear blindfolds and then they’ll know what it’s like for me.” 

“But yet still they felt as if it was an unfair advantage. They said if I use [a guide runner] it was breaking the IAAF rule that states no athlete can have any assistance, with my guide runner being deemed as assistance,” she added.

16 January 2017; Allianz Ireland has today officially announced a new partnership with Sinead Kane as she prepares to enter the record books and become the first visually impaired athlete to complete the World Marathon Challenge, a race consisting of seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Sinead's progress throughout the World Marathon will be documented daily, through both Allianzs social channels, and in a dedicated blog viewable at 777. Pictured at the announcement are Sinead Kane and running partner John O'Regan at Sandymount Strand in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Sinéad Kane, who has less than 5% vision, explained that Athletics Ireland did not want to select her if her results were to be disqualified because she “was bringing no value to the team,” according to her.

“Very, very long story short, I had to keep fighting and fighting. The Irish team were flying out on the Thursday and the IAU were given until 5 pm on the Wednesday to make a decision.

“They emailed my solicitor at 4:59 pm on the Wednesday to say that they had accepted me and it was deemed as an exception to let me in so if I want to go to the Europeans this year I’m hoping that I do not have to go through all this crap again,” Kane said.

However, the entire episode had Kane questioning if she even wanted to continue competing as a runner it took such a toll on her.

“That event really brought me to a low point where I hated running and didn’t want to be involved.

“A lot of people say to me, ‘you’re a role model in running.’ At that time, I no longer wanted to be that role model because it gets to a point where it’s very tiring to always be the one to break down the barrier,” she said.

If you’d like to see Sinéad Kane compete, in October you can be part of the crowd cheering her on as she will be part of an attempt to break a world record in Three Locks Square in Capital Dock.

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Athletics Ireland Capital Dock IAU Sinead Kane Ultrarunning