This much I know: Sonia O’Sullivan

Everybody can’t win the race, but everyone can try.

I don’t believe our lives are laid out for us.

You have to make your own luck and if you do so you’d be surprised at how many good things will come your way.

If I won the Lotto I’d buy a house in Ireland.

There is a wonderful Martello Tower in Belvelly, Fota, in east Cork that would do very nicely.

I will always have a big connection to Ireland.

I now live in Melbourne, Australia, with my husband Nic Bideau and two children. Ciara is 11 and Sophie is nine. And our border collie, Snowy, of course.

Travelling gives you time to think and it’s just as well I enjoy it as I now make lots of regular trips to London from Australia. I put a lot of time into planning these visits around other meetings and try to get as much done each time as possible — like fitting in a few days home in Ireland as well.

I have been working in London on and off since last year as I’m the chef de mission for the Irish Olympic team at the 2012 Olympics. It’s amazing being involved from early on and watching a project of that scale as it develops. We are still at the planning stage but the qualifying events are starting now.

My motto is that you only get out of life whatever you put into it. My coach Séan Kennedy back in Cobh told me that when I was 17 and it kind of stuck.

Mental preparation and focus prior to an event are essential for any athlete. Over time you even create a whole routine for yourself. The night before a race I’d get to the hotel room, lay out the race gear, then the shoes, then the number. Then I’d plan every minute of the next day, counting backwards from the time of the event, when to eat, when to relax — everything.

We underestimate the importance of faith. If you truly believe something is going to happen, you’ve a very good chance of making it happen.

I love Facebook and Twitter although I’m still more of a follower than a contributor.

I even have an iPhone now as the internet is a godsend for someone like me who travels a lot through different time zones.

It makes me feel quite smug when I’m back in Oz as I’m a day ahead of the people I’m working with back here.

If you are going to be a professional athlete, you can’t be afraid to be different.

You have to accept that you are never going to have a normal schedule. You’ve got to be strong with friends and family from the outset as you won’t be able to fit around their timetables.

I think that Irish sportspeople are pretty well supported these days.

There are lots of options open to seniors and juniors alike.

My idea of relaxation is walking our dog.

We’ve only had him for a year so it’s still a novelty.

Becoming an athlete was not a job that I set out to do.

When I was growing up I enjoyed running and won some races and one thing just led to another. Nobody expected it of me or spoke about it much.

You could say I fell into it.

The turning point of my life was when I got an athletic scholarship to Pennsylvania’s Villanova University in 1987. That’s when things began to happen for me. I did business and accounting as well as my sports training.

Marathon running is not my ideal distance.

But I’m doing the Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Marathon on June 6. I am hoping to run it in under three hours. I see this as a pretty big challenge and encourage others to join me. If I can help anyone else with their own preparation, that will be a bonus.

Former world champion and Olympic silver medallist Sonia O’Sullivan is from Cobh, Co Cork.

The 42-year-old is chef de mission for Irish team at the London 2012 Olympics.

She is also the ambassador for the Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Marathon on June 6 and is running in aid of the Children’s Leukemia Association at Cork University Mercy Hospital.

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