Australia’s Olympic marathoners prove age doesn’t matter

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The aggregate age of Australia’s three Olympic women marathon runners is 118, and the oldest of the bunch, Sinead Diver, is confident that being 44 isn’t a deterrent.

The mother-of-two will be competing in her first Olympic Games, while fellow mother Lisa Weightman, 42, will be competing in her fourth. Ellie Pashley, 32, is the group’s baby.

They are the most powerful trio Australia has ever sent to the Olympics, with all three athletes ranking in the top eight in the country’s history.

Ellie Pashley from Torquay, Victoria, Australia cheers during the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon in New York on November 3, 2019. – Geoffrey Kamworor and Joyciline Jepkosgei sealed a double victory for Kenya at the New York Marathon on Sunday, storming to convincing wins in the men’s and women’s races at the annual showpiece. Kamworor, the 2017 New York champion, pulled clear in the closing stages to take the tape in Central Park 2hr 8min 13sec. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)

Diver, who was born in Ireland and will be the oldest Australian to compete in Olympic athletics, believes that age is immaterial.

After the squad announcement, she commented on the Australian Olympic Committee website, “I find it quite annoying because a lot of the media attention I get is mostly focused on my age.”

“I know it’s meant to be positive in certain respects, but not many athletes continue to find success in their 40s. However, because I’ve only been running for a short time, this is a very different issue for me. She emphasized that “success at any age is entirely about your mindset.”

She was late to the game.

Diver joined her sister at a business training program in her 30s, where a member of the group observed how well she ran and suggested she join a recreational running group.

She’s competed in three successive world championships since then, compiling an incredible string of personal best times that currently place her among Australia’s top long-distance runners.

She most recently finished seventh in the London Marathon in 2 hours, 27.07 seconds last year.

“Because I haven’t been doing it for that long, I’m still incredibly driven and determined,” she remarked. “With the folks I exercise with, my age isn’t an issue. Despite the fact that they are all much younger than me, they treat me with the same respect as the rest of the group.”

Weightman is Diver’s junior, but he has more experience, and he is expected to become only the eighth Australian to compete in four Olympic Games in athletics, joining the likes of Michael Phelps and Michael Phelps.

“I am so delighted to have created this chance, and with everything on my plate, including full-time employment, a mother in lockdown, and being an athlete, I’ve certainly built up the resilience I need to run my best in Sapporo,” said Weightman, who finished 31st in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The men’s team consists of Brett Robinson, Liam Adams, and Jack Raynor.

The women’s marathon will be held on Aug. 7 in Sapporo, Japan, in order to avoid the forecasted heat in Tokyo. The men’s race will follow a day later.

 


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