Sinead Kane is an extraordinary young woman from Cork, who has just 5% vision. This January, Sinead will be taking on the World Marathon Challenge. Ahead of her departure to Chile on January 18th, we sat down with Sinead to hear what the race involves, and just what it was that inspired her to take part.
I was born blind, I didn’t choose it, but the most important thing is that I have a choice when it comes to how I live my life. I can either live it in a positive way, or I can live it in a negative way. If I think about the things that motivate me, then choosing to be visionary – rather than blind – is big factor. In the face of adversity, you can be a victim or a victor, so for me it’s about turning those setbacks in comebacks, and to position myself as having ‘endless vision’. Just being the best version of myself that I can, really.
For most of my childhood I was bullied because of my disability. Even as an adult I’ve been bullied. I started running four years ago, when I was asked to run 10km to raise money for blind children. I didn’t even know what distance a 10km run was, but I said yes because it was a charity close to my heart. Since then, running has boosted my self-confidence more than I could have ever imagined.
When I heard about the World Marathon Challenge, an annual round-the-world race that encompasses running 7 marathons, in 7 days, across 7 continents, I just knew I had to sign up.
To do this challenge would mean the world to me. There are certain things in life that I will never be able to do because of my bad eyesight. I will never be able to watch a sunrise or sunset. I will never own a car or be able to drive. I will never be able to see the world like fully sighted people. Even on this trip I won’t be able to see the beauty of the places that I will visit, but at least I get to go.
Although there are many people who think I’m crazy for taking this on, there are many reasons I want to embark on this challenge. Firstly, I am passionate about challenging the status quo about disability and encouraging people to think differently about their own abilities. There will be a camera crew following our journey, and having a TV documentary made from the trip would inspire those both with and without disabilities to be better versions of themselves.
I have considered writing a book about what I experience before, during and after the challenge, and the big dream would be to have it published. If we get to that final finish line, we’ll create a Guinness World Record for the fastest time for a visually impaired athlete to complete a marathon on all seven continents. Another goal of mine is to create an Irish record for being the fastest Irish female athlete to complete 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days.
I’ve been fundraising for the World Marathon Challenge since October 2016, and to be honest we weren’t sure we were going to get there, and that’s when Allianz stepped in.
I never imagined this would happen, and they’ve just showed me that anything is possible, and to believe in myself. I can’t put into words how grateful I am to Allianz. I’m so excited that not only are they supporting me on this journey, but also following me on it. I’ll be posting regular blog updates and diary entries during the trip so I’m really looking forward to keeping you all posted!
One thing I’ve learned in life is that sometimes you can achieve goals in life, simply because someone else had the belief in you. To know that Allianz had the belief in me to embark on this challenge drives me even further.
All going well, I don’t view this just as my World Record. This is Team Allianz’ World Record.