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Sinead Diver Runs 2:21:34 In Valencia At 45 Years Old!! Becomes The Fastest Irish Woman In History

  • 04-12-2022 12:07pm
    Registered Users Posts: 153 ✭✭

    Faster than Catherina McKiernans National record by almost a minute, absolutely insane performance nevermind doing it at 45 years old



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,717 ✭✭✭YFlyer

    Amazing performance.

  • Registered Users Posts: 584 ✭✭✭marathon2022

    Some race, Kiptum(2:01:53 on his f ing marathon debut) and Beriso(2:14:58) winning men's and woman's titles in phenomenal times.

  • Registered Users Posts: 973 ✭✭✭pc11

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    Great to see a woman performing like that at her age. Gives me sone home . I would love to know is she taking any hrt and does it need to be declared .

  • Registered Users Posts: 161 ✭✭6run28

    At age 37 she had a PB of 2:34 and by 45 it is down to 2:21, it is quite remarkable.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 153 ✭✭SuspectZero

    Tbf, she was only running 3 and half years when she ran that 2:34. You would expect progression to keep going for years after that when someone is that athletically immature so I don't think it's crazy for someone to keep progressing into their 40's when they only started when they were closing in on their mid-30s. I mean all you have to do is look at at some of the logs here to see people still improving despite them being 10 years older than they were 10 years ago. Your ability to improve is more based on your running age than your actual age. Your actual age will only lower your overall ceiling.

    If you want to say 2:21 at 45 is suspect, fair enough but I don't see how someone who has been running 3.5 years(with varying consistency) vs the same person who has been running 10+ years(And Now in a professional group) showing improvement still as suspect despite them getting older.

    Just a correction on a post made above, it was 7 minute o45 world record but it is not faster than the o45 record. Helenia Johannes(2x Dublin Marathon Winner believe it or not) ran 2:19 two years ago in Valencia in her 40's

  • Registered Users Posts: 973 ✭✭✭pc11

    Thanks for that about Hellalia Johannes, she isn't listed on any of the masters records sites. Must not have been submitted for ratification as a masters record I suppose.

    Interesting how she went from running 2:30 or so in her 30s to 2:19 at the age of 40.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,597 ✭✭✭rovers_runner

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,010 ✭✭✭Itziger

    Sobering reading, that.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 792 ✭✭✭omicron

    Seeing her times laid out in a table like that definitely makes it harder to believe. A huge chunk off in 2017 when she had been stagnating before and the same again this year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 153 ✭✭SuspectZero

    It doesn't say anything about hrt in there. And of course women do hrt if they have hormonal imbalances. I think you are thinking of trt which would be subset of hrt.

    As for anyone getting a TUE for testosterone, I would seriously doubt WADA would approve trt for any athlete unless it was extreme circumstances. It would probably be looked at in the same way as someone looking for an EPO TUE, something that probably wouldn't be cleared unless an athlete was on dialysis or in chemo.

    In fact, I just looked up the TUE process for testosterone and they will not even clear it for women.

    TUE should only be approved for male hypogonadism that has an organic etiology. TUE should not be approved for androgen deficiency due to functional disorder

    Basically, they will only clear it for men who can prove that their testosterone levels are low to non existent if it is either a genetic birth disorder, a development disorder with puberty records, testicular injury or recovery from chemotherapy.

    I would also presume hrt would run along similar guidelines, its extremely unlikely that very many androgenic or eostrogenic hormones are approved. I.e, they just won't hand them out because you are getting old and your hormonal profile is changing even if you become deficient in either.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46

    No matter what way you look at this it is suspect. Are we like the Brits in the way they accuse everyone else and ignore Sky/Ineos, Farah, Radcliffe etc?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46

    Sinead Diver's 2:21:34 is unique outlier

    It would take a nuclear bomb to dissolve the cloud of suspicion enshrouding this performance


    DEC 9


    According to World Masters Athletics, Bernard Lagat holds the world record for the marathon in the male age 45-to-49 age bracket, having run 2:14:23 at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials. Lagat—who started his career as a Kenyan, ended it as an American, and for a spell dubiously straddled the line between them—was a brilliant performer on the track for an impossibly long time. He’s still the second-fastest man ever over 1,500 meters (3:26.34), recording that performance in a 2001 race he lost to Hicham El Guerrouj.

    Lagat, reportedly a dedicated father, tested positive for EPO in 2003, but in a statistical miracle was cleared of all harmdoing when his “B” sample (or “‘B’ sample”) came back negative or thereabouts. Lagat had signed a shoe contract with Nike the year before, and he represented that distinguished company for his entire career.

    This tells us* three things: one, Bernard Lagat, a delightful family man, was one of the very best runners in the world in both his mid-twenties and his mid-forties; two, Bernard Lagat—adorably nicknamed “Kip”—was almost certainly a beneficiary of banned substances the entire time; and three, even given these two attributes, the always-genial Bernard Lagat’s age-45 marathon time was more than 10 percent slower than the world record.

    The difference between Lagat’s 2:14:23 and Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:01:09 world record is 10.92 percent. But the rolling course used in Atlanta for the 2020 Trials was dank mud compared to the layouts used for record attempts, so if his time were adjusted to 2:13:16—and he’d likely have been faster on a runway-style course, but this is close enough for Substack work—he’d be exactly 10 percent off.

    Is this a typical drop-off? After all, someone being mega-talented and juiced doesn’t mean he’ll age more slowly than most.

    In fact, looking at other road events, we* would actually expect a larger difference. Kevin Castille, now serving a doping suspension, holds the 5K world record for 45- to 49-year-old males with a 14:29 from 2017. That’s 13.0 percent slower than Berihu Aregawi’s world record of 12:49 from last December. Even assuming Aregawi had access to superior shoes, that wouldn’t explain the entire difference; a 10-percent gap would require a 14:06 in the older division. And the world record for the half-marathon in the proto-geezer division (1:05:01) is 13.1 percent slower than the open world record of 57:31.

    Ejgayehu Taye has the open world record in the road 5K, running 14:19 in the same race Aregawi ran 14:49. The world record in the women’s 45-to-49 category is 16:13.7 by Linda Somers-Smith. That’s a difference of 13.4 percent. In the 10K, the difference is 14.5 percent (29:14 vs. 33:28), though the proto-geezer time—set by a Ukrainian clearly using all the drugs she could get her hands on—is over twenty years old.

    If you feel like comparing times in other road events, some of the open world records are listed here, while Wikipedia maintains this page for masters records. But granting that I’ve collected a reasonably useful mini-sample, it appears that the best runners in the world are about 13 percent faster than the best 45-year-old runners in the world. It might be accurate to observe that if a world-class runner continues racing seriously into his or her mid-forties—and few do—that this might be closer to 10 percent.

    Enter Sinead Diver.

    The 2:21:34 Diver ran in Valencia on Sunday at the age of 45 years, nine and a half months is a mere 5.6 percent slower than the world record of 2:14:04.

    For Diver to be 10 percent inferior to the world record would require a woman running 2:08:41. Being 13 percent slower would mean a women’s world record of 2:05:16.

    When Diver ran a half-marathon in 1:09:00 in February to set a proto-geezer world record for that distance, this was within 9.8 percent of Letesenbet Gidey’s 1:02:52 from months earlier—a time that happens to be the most stupefying mark among current world road records. Only a dozen American women of any age have run faster, and only four of them lacked access to modern road flats in their primes (Joan Benoit Samuelson, Deena Kastor, Kara Goucher, and Shalane Flanagan).

    Imagine a 45-year-old man capable of any of these times, especially one with pasty-white parents:

    • Mile - 3:55.6
    • 5,000m - 13:17
    • 10,000m - 27:39
    • Half-marathon - 1:00:44
    • Marathon - 2:07:56

    Also note that Diver is not just absurdly fast, but has been improving for years, although it seems unlikely that she will ever improve on 1:09:00 and 2:21:34. She never broke 2:30:00 until turning forty, by which time she was no beginner.,c_limit,f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/ There was an error displaying this embed.

    How have the media responded to the 2:21:34? Predictably. This Runner’s World story is representative of the dunce-yawping, incurious mix, and it’s genuinely cute—I think the author believes every last word she wrote. Here are a few of those words:

    She only took up running at the age of 33, works full time as an IT consultant, and has a busy family life with two young kids.

    And if her back story and achievements don't make her inspirational enough, Diver is also responsible for one of the funniest instagram [sic] running accounts.

    Another inspirational athlete who scoffs in the face of the concept of ageing [sic] is Catherine Bertone of Italy…

    Oh, and did we mention? She's 50 years old. Age really is just a number, and that number is 'one ridiculously fast marathon time!'.

    Setting records and epic multitasking – these super fast women can do it all.

    I can’t be the only one who laughed aloud when I saw that an Italian medical doctor was also running unlikely times as an inexorably calcifying fossil. She must have at least forty-seven kids she’s never discussed in order to have gained the she-power to develop and maintain that kind of strength. That, or she’s familiar with any number of clones of these people.,c_limit,f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/ There was an error displaying this embed.

    It doesn’t matter how talented or hardworking Sinead Diver is, or how slowly she may be aging, or how fast she might have run as a younger woman had she started before turning 33. Everything about her performance profile is too suspect to even denigrate using standard dismissive-sarcastic terminology; her 2:21:34 and untrammeled improvement strain credulity too much.

    You’re on the free list for Beck of the Pack. Although I love you all anyway, you can become a paying subscriber instead.

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    © 2022 Kevin Beck

    Boulder, CO

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46

    Sorry, that copy and paste didn't work out and I can't delete it...🙈

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,306 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    The HRT reference was probably RR's way of making a menopausal 'joke'. That said, I'm sceptical about the performance myself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,597 ✭✭✭rovers_runner

    It wasn't meant to take the piss, it was a stab at somehow a female athlete of that age profile justifying a TUE, given there are so many loopholes these days which professional sports people use that the vast majority of us will never know about.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    I am a menopausal women of similar age profile to Sinead and the majority of my peers are struggling with sleep deprivation , weight gain , muscle pain and all sorts of other crap - so beating all the odds whilst dealing with diminishing hormones is definitely odd . HRT would help - and woman can get testosterone with HRT . It replacing though what you are losing as you age .

  • Registered Users Posts: 153 ✭✭SuspectZero

    I didnt get a chance to read that study until today and I wouldn't disagree with much said in, older people aren't as fast people in their physical prime, I don't think anyone could disagree with that, its a fact of life.

    The thing is that study is based on ceilings, not the ability to improve which we were talking about. Yes, your ceiling is lower at 45 than it would be at your physical prime. But it doesn't mean that a late to life athlete cannot improve and I think that's where our miscommunication is. That study is referencing the difference between elite open athletes and elite masters athletes and the times they run as a general notation of how the aging process limits their ceilings.

    But it does not mean that if you take up running at 35, you will get 2 and a half minutes slower per year. A huge amount of elite masters competitors only took up the sport late and were much slower in their 30's/40's/whatever than when they reached their ceiling at an even older age. Because these late to life runners who became elite age-group athletes were literally recreational/beginner runners when they started. And your ability to improve and adapt to training is greater than the negative effects of aging. Its not that you can't improve anymore, it's just that you don't have the capability to reach the same athletic ceiling that you would in your physical prime. And that's what that plos one study is about, ceilings. I.e elite masters runners are slower than elite open runners.

    This is also why I said if you want to be suspicious of 2:21(an extremely high ceiling for a 45 year old woman, thats fine) but that I don't get how being able to improve in your 30's or 40's WHEN you literally are only running a few years is crazy no matter if you are a back of the packer or turn into an age group world record holder. The study posted doesn't counter that in any way as its not attempting to, its arguing a completely different point.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,306 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    Fair enough but the argument isn't based entirely on Lagat, that is just one of the examples he used, along with Taye, in his 'mini sample'.

    Using these to illustrate a general point (which I have not checked against the actual data) that a 45-year-old athlete is 10-13% slower than the Senior world record, a point he claims holds across distances from 5k-marathon at least. (I don't think Diver's 3% Olympic time is relevant, even though it would seem to support the general thrust of his claim, but it's a one-off race in very difficult conditions).

    If this 10-13% general decline is supported across the main race distances by the actual senior and M/F45 data (and like I say, I haven't researched it), then Diver's 5.6% run is indeed a very significant outlier (while also being a full seven minutes faster than the previous F45 record, not to mention being achieved at an age 18 years older than the previous Australian record holder, who is actually two years younger than Sinead.

    Let's forget the Kipchoge-age point as the age theory needs to be proved before EK's data can be brought to the argument in the terms you propose. You mention shoes and nutrition (Maurten) as being worth minutes - well yes, a fair point but it's hardly the first time she's used super shoes or had a well executed nutrition strategy. But I listened to a podcast today where she talked about the race, which she described as going 100% perfectly and to plan - that's definitely worth something - even if on the other hand Sinead also claimed to have done Valencia on poor sleep over a number of days (the main negative she identified), a point which pulls back a bit in the other direction.

    Bottom line: Sinead's 2:21 at 45 is either the greatest marathon of all time, by any athlete of any gender or any age, or it's something else. I hope it's the former.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,182 ✭✭✭demfad

    He actually has no useful data in his mini-sample. Masters records are generally soft (he fails to acknowledge this) and his chosen examples are extremely soft both on the lesser known runner (13% slower than WR) and 'former world class athlete' (10% slower than WR) examples.

    Castille's 5000 M45 record is a full minute slower than the M40 record. It is soft as milk. He uses Lagat to "show" what a world class athletes of 45 can do which is where he gets his 10% of WR pace as the lowest mark. But Lagat's Marathon PB is only 2h12m, he is NOT a marathon specialist, his masters time is only slightly relatively better than Castille's tortoise job.

    But who is a specialist? Bekele is 42 now. If he keeps training without injury for 3 years will he break 2:09? (roughly 6% slower than WR)? I'd guess very easily. How would Kipchoge do at 45? (assuming he is not already 45 ). Would he beat 2:14? 2:09? 2:05? So if Bekele or Kipchoge keep running they might produce meaningful records for the purposes of valid comparisons.

    Do your research sure, but have another look again at your bottom line. (You admitted you haven't validated his position nor researched yours therefore no basis for it.)

    "Bottom line: Sinead's 2:21 at 45 is either the greatest marathon of all time, by any athlete of any gender or any age, or it's something else. I hope it's the former."

    Note: Point about Shoes/Maurten for Diver is to explain some of her relative improvement from 2:31-2:25.

    Note2: Men's winner and women's winner Valencia both within a minute of respective WRs. That course is worth minutes.

    Post edited by demfad on

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,306 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    Some good points but are they not undermined by unproven assumptions/rumours about athlete age - Bekele being 42 for instance, Kipchoge 'in his 40s', possibly 45 already etc. How can we take the argument seriously when these claims are casually dropped in as if they are unquestionably true?

    More work needed by all of us, maybe. 😉

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,584 ✭✭✭ligerdub

    There are a few things to consider.

    1. Advancements in technology and nutrition.

    2. Course profile and weather conditions.

    3. Motivation differences.

    The first 2 are fairly obvious. The conditions on the day did read to be almost perfect and the course itself is very fast. I watched a video from Ben Parkes which showed that 18% of the field ran sub 3 hours, which is a lot more than Berlin (7% I believe). The only one close to it is Boston, at 14%.

    Bearing in mind Boston and other majors have a high percentage of spots given to those with a qualifying time of around that time it's notable that an event which has no requirement of a qualifying time (open to correction on that) is generally more conducive to fast times than these races.

    When you factor in the fact that the race this year saw the 3rd fastest marathon time ever and it wasn't recorded by Kipchoge it only backs this up further.

    In terms of motivation it stands to reason that an athlete that peaked and competed among the best in their 30s would struggle for motivation to keep going in their mid 40s. They might still have the profile and the ability to enter big events and record good times, I suspect the drive to perform might wane as powers diminish. This is entirely different to somebody who is still improving in their early 40s. I highly doubt a competitor used to competing for world medals would really view a Masters record as something to strive for.

    I've no real knowledge nor opinion of Diver bar the basics of her background and when she started running. There may be some interesting flags about her progress but there are also some factors which make her time more explainable than assuming the default Paul Kimmage (no offence Paul) position.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 23,937 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph

    Surely a better comparison would be Steve Way and how his times progressed as someone coming into semi elite level late in life.

    No point in comparing to a former Olympic level elite runner and seeing their masters times to conclude that "everyone gets slower once over 40" when you should be looking at the progression of other athletes who only began serious running as a master. Kipchoge, Bekele and Lagat running in their 40s doesn't show anything useful for comparison to people who only started running at 35+.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,136 ✭✭✭Trampas

    Having ran València this year the conditions were perfect. Not a breathe of wind. Course is pancake flat. One part around 33km I noticed an incline and it was nothing. Last 7km or so are downhill or flat all the way.

    Women’s race was in with the men which will help also. Stats from the race are crazy for times. 3900 under 3 hours and 18% of field

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,182 ✭✭✭demfad

    My sense is that a lot of the Iberians (and beyond) recognise this as an extremely fast course and use it when targeting time goals.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46

    Watching Irish defending Irish 🤣 Will somebody please at least state that despite 'marginal gains' this is an outlier performance. Just once... Please

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,207 ✭✭✭AuldManKing

    An interesting thread............I do like to look at the person & their training environment.

    Some observations about this 'outlier performance'

    • This was her 1st run with Male pacers in quite a while - she herself said that she felt in 2.21/22 shape previously, but she raced in many Championship racers (female only) with not much opportunity for performance.
    • I'm not aware of any rumour/issue with Aussie Marathon Running - especially in a team where Nic Bideau is head coach. The MTC has too much to lose - maybe I'm naive.
    • Why would she do it (dope)? She documents all her training on Strava, is a regular on Aussie podcasts, loved by the media over there (& here) - if there was any sniff of any wrong doing - it would be out there.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46

    I think this thread probably shows very clearly the two polar opposite views on doping in sport.

    One side believes that there should always be a presumption of innocence in the absence of a failed test.

    The other side believes that doping is very prevalent in professional sport. Some of it is totally hidden, lots of it is in plain view and exploits TUE rules. This side also believes the many anonymous surveys which professional sports people completed which suggest that approx 40% of professional athletes dope. With anti doping failing to catch the cheats and an omerta within sport, this side believes in using other means (like rate of improvement and the age it happens at) to question the likes of Froome, Wiggins, Radcliffe, Farah etc.

    These two sides will never see eye to eye 🤣