For their 80th birthday and 57th wedding anniversary, Kay and Joe O’Regan participated in the Cork City Marathon in Ireland on June 6. With half a mile left to the finish line, the two intertwined hands and finished the race with a time of 5 hours and 23 minutes. Both placed first for their age group. With such stamina, you might think that the two have been running their whole lives, but according to an interview with TODAY, the two didn’t start until they were 49. Their son, Sintan, complained about rugby practices, which happened rain or shine. “You can’t let a little rain stop you,” Kay told him, and Sintan challenged her to join him. “And here we are 30 years later still running.” They were in London at the time. Kay and Joe have since returned to Ireland, where they joined a running club. Kay has competed in 113 marathons. Her personal best time was 3 hours and 35 minutes at the 1993 Melbourne Marathon. Joe has competed in 29. That’s almost 4,000 miles altogether! Scroll below for photos of these inspiring octogenarians running marathons.This photo was taken at the London Marathon in 1986. Kay and Joe O’Regan completed the race hand in hand. At the time, they were 50 years old.
The two have traveled to different cities, including Boston and Melbourne, to get their run on. Here they are 4 years later at the Berlin Marathon in 1991. They usually run in separate races.
Kay and Joe look completely unfazed after running the Marathon of Midnight Sun in Arctic Norway in 1995.
As mentioned in the story above, Kay was challenged by her son to run with him in the rain. That one moment sparked a hobby, which turned into a passion. There are countless benefits to running. When you take up running, you de-stress, feel energized, increase your stamina, make new friends (the O’Regans made a bunch of friends by joining a running club when they returned to Ireland), and you just look and feel healthy. Here’s the happy couple at this year’s Cork City Marathon. “When you run with people, you’re more inclined to go through with it because you made a commitment,” Kay revealed.
Here are Kay and Joe as they cross the finish line at the Cork City Marathon. They decided to run this one together to celebrate their 80th birthdays and 57th wedding anniversary.
They agreed that this marathon would be their last one, but are having second thoughts. “There’s nothing quite like the thrill you feel when running a race,” Joe said in an interview with TODAY. “Neither of us can get enough of it.”
The two of you are inspiring to people everywhere. Your story proves that you don’t have to be an athlete to take up running and you certainly don’t have to do it alone. Many more years of health, happiness, birthdays, and anniversaries to you both!