80-Year-Old Couple Celebrates 57th Anniversary By Finishing Marathon Holding Hands

Who says history can't repeat itself? In 1986, Joe and Kay O'Regan finished their first marathon run together, hand in hand. Thirty years later, on June 6, 2016, the couple celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary by crossing the Cork City Marathon's finish line the only way they knew how: together. To make their feat even more heartwarming, not to mention impressive, is the fact that they're both 80 years old. 

Apart from the fact that Joe and Kay are models for successful long-lasting relationships and sustained optimal health, the real inspiration may lie in their holding of hands. Research has proven that holding hands triggers the release of oxytocin in the brain. This neurotransmitter increases trust, compassion, and generosity, and decreases feelings of fear and anxiety. After 25.5 miles of running, the body would certainly experience some pain and discomfort, but a simple touch of a loved one can provide ease, support, and lower stress. In an interview with Runner's World, Kay describes the moment when Joe grabbed her hand during the race: “He seemed to get a second wind there. We raced up to the finish, really. We were able to sprint.”

Although the octogenarians have now missed the Guinness World Record for “Oldest Couple to Complete a Marathon,” Kay and Joe continue to be an inspiration for us all. Not only did they win their age group at a completion time of 5:25:29, but this particular race time (Kay's 113th marathon) makes Kay the fastest 80-year-old woman in the UK. However, it's not all about the times and medals, of course. Their smiling faces say it all—do what you love with the ones you love, and love the ones you do it with. “In Ireland, there's a saying: Those who pray together, stay together,” Kay says. “Well, we say: those who run together, stay together.”

Above image via Denise Sawyer Reports

Image via Cork City Marathon

Image via Cork City Marathon

via [Runner's World, People]

Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content