Monday 20 November 2017

Running's in the family as Sonia to cheer on daughter

Sonia O'Sullivan and her daughter Sophie (in pink hat) with Children from Saint Brigid's National School
Sonia O'Sullivan and her daughter Sophie (in pink hat) with Children from Saint Brigid's National School

Eimear Rabbitte

IT'S a case of like mother like daughter for legendary Irish athlete Sonia O'Sullivan.

The former world champion and Olympic silver medallist remains Ireland's most successful female athlete and her love of running has rubbed off on her children.

The mother of two will be on the sidelines this Sunday to do the commentary for RTE during The Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park.

But there will be a family representative in the world-famous race, her 12-year-old daughter Sophie, who is taking part in the junior competition.

"The last time that Sophie was at the Great Ireland Run was in 2006 so she is a lot older this time," O'Sullivan said.

"They are involved in sports in school and on the weekend in Australia, but it's not just athletics, they really enjoy basketball and they do a bit of running, too.

"I would love to take part in the Great Ireland Run, but I'm going to be busy trying to explain to everyone watching RTE what is gong on," she added, laughing.

Australia-based O'Sullivan, who gets back to Ireland as often as she can, stays busy with her charity work as well as looking after daughters Ciara and Sophie.

However, the 44-year-old said she would love to do more sports commentary if she got the chance.

"I am hoping to cover the European Championships this summer because I really enjoy it, but unfortunately there isn't that much of it available," explained O'Sullivan.

"I wish there was more of it. It's a lovely thing to do."

While O'Sullivan is taking a backseat at this year's Great Ireland Run, Wicklow woman Fionnuala Britton is going for gold in the elite section of the competition, which will be completed by more than 12,000 people of all ages and fitness levels.

O'Sullivan described two-time European Cross Country Champion Britton, as "absolutely fantastic".

"A lot of people see the flat and track running as the pinnacle of the sport, but cross country is a very different challenge and I think Fionnuala is brilliant for what she has done for female athletics and what she has won."

"You get nervous before every race and the more something is talked about, the bigger it seems," Britton told the Irish Independent.

"It's great being able to run at home with all the Irish support behind you and alongside a lot of your friends," she added.

Irish Independent

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