Motivational Speaker, Visually Impaired Athlete, Record Holder, Brand Ambassador to Allianz Ireland, PhD Researcher, Solicitor, Certified Mediator, Writer with the Irish Criminal Law Journal.
Visually Impaired Athlete & Record Holder, In January 2017 Sinead Kane made history as she became the first visually-impaired athlete to complete the World Marathon Challenge – seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. She is also the first Irish female to do the world marathon challenge. The first race was at Union Glacier, the Cork woman moved on to Punta Arenas (Chile), Miami (USA), Madrid (Spain), Marrakech (Morocco), Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and finally Sydney. Sinead came joint-first in her marathon in Dubai. This is all remarkable given that Sinead only did her first marathon ever in October 2014 and she only took up running in April 2012. The World Marathon Challenge is an amazing logistical and physical challenge to run a Marathon on each of the Seven Continents within Seven Days. Sinead could not have done the challenge without the help of her guide runner, John O’Regan, an elite ultra-runner in Ireland. Both Sinead and John successfully completed the world marathon challenge which included 59 hours of flight time, 43,509Km flight distance as well as 295Km of running. They passed through 15 time zones and survived on very little sleep. Coping with these extreme challenges isn’t easy and getting the job done required all the attributes you would associate with keeping your business afloat. Three weeks after coming back from the world marathon challenge Sinead went to Finland and did a 24hour race around an indoor track. She came 9th female and 22nd overall between the males and females out of a race number of 120 competitors. She covered a distance of 172km in the 24hours.
In 2015 Sinead made sporting history when she became the first visually-impaired Irish person to run an ultra-marathon in Ireland. Sinead was also an invited athlete and brand ambassador for the Wings for Life World Run in Brazil where she finished 23rd female out of 1413 females. She also forced policy change in the VHI women’s mini marathon in March 2015 following a storm of negativity where the organisers of the race wouldn’t allow Sinead compete with her guide runner just because he was ‘male.’
Sinead is no stranger to creating record’s and being 1st. In 2009 Sinead qualified as Ireland’s first registered blind solicitor. This is all despite being born with just 5% vision and registered blind, Sinead has endless vision. In February 2015, Sinead was an invited speaker at TEDxDCU where she highlighted her passion for the subject of bullying and not being a by-stander.
Sinead has featured regularly in local and national newspapers and TV. In 2010, Sinead was part of an inspiring documentary about life with a disability and horse-riding in Mexico.
Sinead lives by a positive attitude: “I can choose to be blind or I can choose to be visionary and I choose to be visionary. It takes courage to have limited sight and to go out and run with thousands of people because the risks of being injured are higher. What I have learned from life is that courage has a ripple effect. Every time we choose courage we make those around us feel better and the world a bit braver.”
Ironically, Sinead’s surname Kane means ‘little battler’ which she says reflects her life of trying to overcome adversity. Sinead has a real ability to connect with people. Sinead can speak to audiences on any of the following subjects: diversity/inclusive business, health & wellbeing, leadership, social responsibility and much more. Sinead believes in being resilient and turning setbacks into comebacks. She advocates that adversity is not hardship it is the means by which we can learn life lessons. Sinead chooses to be visionary not blind.
Sinead is a full-time PhD researcher at DCU. She will be handing in her thesis this October – October 2017. Follow Sinead on Twitter @blindrunner777