Health

The Story Behind The 80-Year-Old Couple Who Finished A Marathon Holding Hands Couldn’t Be More Inspiring

Kay and Joe O’Regan are not your average octogenarians.

Not only did the married couple recently finish a marathon together, this was the 142nd marathon finish between the two of them, they ran the last half-mile holding hands—just as they did while finishing their first marathon together 30 years ago (aww!)—and did I mention they are both 80 years old?

The Irish couple finished the Cork City Marathon in southern Ireland earlier this month, and as Joe told Runner’s World, Kay’s performance there has made her the fastest 80-year-old female in the U.K.

“Running is a part of our lives. And it hopefully will be for a few more years,” Kay told the running publication. “In Ireland there is a saying: those who pray together stay together. Well we say, those who run together stay together.”


Kay signed the two of them up for their first marathon—the London Marathon—in 1986 as a special way to celebrate their 50th birthdays. Over the course of the next 30 years, Kay finished an incredible 133 marathons and Joe finished 29. All after the age of 50, mind you!

Kay and Joe say they’ve finished their last race, although they missed the chance to receive the Guiness World Record for the oldest couple couple to complete a marathon by about 250 days. They’d be eligible come November 5, the day before the New York City Marathon on November 6, but Joe told Runner’s World he was “hesitant to make any plans.”

And fair enough. I’d say this couple deserves some well-earned rest and relaxation after all the running they have under their belts.