Ireland's incredible blind marathon runner Sinead Kane, 35, is opening up about her struggles in the World Marathon Challenge. Kane, who works as a solicitor in Cork, told reporters that she was extremely close to quitting the entire race on the fifth day of the challenge.
The World Marathon Challenge consists of seven marathons in seven continents over a period of seven days. This year's challenge took place in the following locations: Australia, Antarctica, Chile, Florida, Spain, Dubai, and Morocco.
Kane initially thought she was going to have the most difficult time in the Antarctica portion of this marathon. Since Kane suffers from aniridia, she doesn't have irises that can protect her from bright light. Even though Kane is legally blind, she is still affected by snow blindness.
While she was running with her guide Josh O'Regan in Antarctica, Kane said she did experience a bit of snow blindness, but it wasn't as bad as she'd expected. The temperature in Antarctica was a brutal -30°C on the day she ran.
Although Antarctica was difficult, Kane told journalists she faced her greatest challenge in Marrakesh, Morocco. Not only was the heat in Marrakesh intense (34°C), Kane said there were tons of palm trees on the running course that were difficult for her to avoid.
To make matters worse, Kane's feet started to swell up as she was running her 13 laps around Marrakesh. Kane's feet were so swollen that her ankle bones became totally numb and she could literally feel fluid flowing through her feet.
When she couldn't take the pain any longer, Kane stopped running, tore off her competition number, and started arguing with her guide. Before Kane officially quit the race, however, O'Regan convinced her to continue with an inspiring pep talk. Kane says she's grateful O'Regan got her through those tense moments.
Just a few days later, Kane became the first legally blind runner ever to complete the World Marathon Challenge. Kane and O'Regan officially ran 259 km over a span of 89 hours on this insane marathon. They also traveled an astonishing 43,500 km around the world by plane.
Kane made headlines a few weeks after the World Marathon Challenge when she came in ninth place in a 24-hour race in Finland. She was the first person with a disability ever to compete in this famous Finnish race.
Amazingly, Kane only started running professionally five years ago. Throughout all these challenging races, Kane says she learned important lessons about self-confidence and teamwork. She hopes to inspire others with disabilities to do the impossible.
Aniridia is a rare disorder that can be either congenital or the result of some other kind of neurological disorder. Although less common, people can get aniridia from direct trauma to the eye.
When asked whether she'll continue to run in the future, Kane said she has a "few more ideas in mind" and is now training for a new opportunity to test her skills. People who want to keep up to date on Kane's extraordinary adventures can follow her at this website: https://twitter.com/blindrunner777.