Marathon duo hand in hand!

Joe and Kay young at heart

Published 16/06/2016 | 00:00

Kay O'Regan, Seamus Jordan (who ran the marathon with them), and Joe O'Regan. Pic: Matt Murphy
Kay O'Regan, Seamus Jordan (who ran the marathon with them), and Joe O'Regan. Pic: Matt Murphy
Joe and Kay O'Regan with Tracy Kavanagh of Slaney Olympic. Pic: Matt Murphy

The marathon running exploits of the young at heart husband and wife team of Joe and Kay O'Regan have been earning them rave reviews.

Joe is from a small place called Kinvara in Co. Galway and Kay is a local woman originally from Adamstown. They met while working in London and married in 1959, and they will celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary later this year.

They have two children, Fintan and Sarah, and five grandchildren who live abroad. They returned to Enniscorthy in 1997 and joined the local running club, Slaney Olympic, as a way of making new friends and running partners.

Joe and Kay ran their first marathon in London, where they lived at the time, to celebrate their 50th birthdays and finished the race hand in hand before vowing never to run another marathon again. That wasn't to be the case though!

At this point Kay has participated in 113 marathons and is the current Irish women's marathon record holder in the 60, 65, 70 and 75 age categories. Joe has completed 29 marathons, but he much prefers the shorter half-marathon distance.

They have ran marathons in all the major European capital cities as well as in Australia and America.

Joe turned 80 on February 24 and Kay followed suit on March 18, Last year, Kay decided that to mark their new milestone they would complete a marathon, just like their first one 30 years earlier, hand in hand at the finish line.

They chose the Cork City Marathon as it is very close to their hearts, given that Kay has ran in all of the races since it began ten years ago while Joe helps out at the finish line each year.

Their training regime is not for the faint-hearted as they average 30 to 40 miles per week, all year round and in all weathers. They eat very healthily, with lots of fruit and vegetables, and neither smoke nor drink except for an occasional glass of wine for Kay if 'out in company'.

On race day, a large contingent of family and supporters travelled to Cork to wish them well. Seamus Jordan ran with them throughout the race for the company and banter.

They both completed the race in a little over five hours 24 minutes and, just like the first time, they were both holding hands and smiling.

A presentation to mark this great achievement was made to them both on Friday in Doyle's of The Still after the summer league race from their friends in Slaney Olympic.

As Joe says, 'couples that run together, stay together!'

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