80-Year-Old Couple Crosses Marathon Finish Line Hand in Hand on 57th Wedding Anniversary
Octogenarian couple Kay and Joe O’Regan gave us all something to aspire to when they finished their 142nd and final marathon, hand-in-hand, in Cork, Ireland.
The Irish couple crossed the finish line to celebrate not only their 80th birthdays, but also 57 years of marriage and 30 years of running adventures.
“We were both happy to see the finish line, which we did, as planned, hand-in-hand like we did in our first marathon in London in 1986,” Kay told InsideEdition.com
The couple was married in 1959, but picked up running at the age of 50, when their then-teenage son began complaining about having to jog in the rain for rugby practice.
"I said 'you can't let a drop of rain stop you’ so he replied, 'right tomorrow night you join me' which I did, and so the story began. We got the running bug I guess," Kay said.
They’ve been running ever since — Kay having finished 113 marathons and Joe 29, all of which took place in extraordinary places all over the world.
From Berlin to Boston, Norway to Australia, the couple has seen it all in their adventurous travels, with Joe reaching his personal best time of 3 hours and 28 minutes in London, and Kay reaching hers at 3 hours and 35 minutes.
“When we started running marathons we had to travel to do them, which we used to do, and then have a holiday afterwards, but as you know, nowadays we could run three marathons a week without leaving Ireland,” Kay told InsideEdition.com
The idea to run their last 26.2 mile race came about after Joe decided to stop after 2010, and Kay after Cork in 2013, but it only took a bit of convincing for the couple decide to finish up together, just as they began.
“I said to Joe, ‘next year maybe, just maybe, we should do one last marathon in our 80th year like we did in London 1986 when we were both 50 that year’, so he surprised me when he said ‘yes, maybe we should,’ so I kept him to that and thankfully we finished our last marathon,” Kay told InsideEdition.com
When with about a half mile left in the race, Joe reached for Kay’s hand and they gleefully crossed the finish line together, at a time of 5:25:29, each the winners for their age group.
Despite it being their final race at this distance, the duo plans to continue to run, just in shorter races, like 5 and 10k’s.
“No plans to retire from running, and we hope to be able to do so for more years to come, hopefully,” said Kay.
As for all of the media attention, Kay finds it somewhat unnecessary, saying “self-praise is no praise,” and sees her passion for running as simply a part of their everyday lives.
“We don't think we are special, we are just doing what we like and want to do. I guess it has just become an obsession with us, and a big part of our lives,” said Kay.