Ireland enjoyed an absolutely glorious June Bank Holiday on Monday with thousands coming out in Dublin and Cork to show their support for those running the annual start of summer marathons.
As many as ten thousand came out in Cork city for the Irish Examiner Half and Full Marathon and although the talented Philip Harty from Dungarvan was the first to cross the line in a time of 2 hours 33 minutes, it was a pair of runners much later down the pecking order that won the hearts of the crowd.
Joe and Kay O'Regan, an 80-year-old couple from Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, crossed the line at 5 hours and 25 minutes and crossed it hand-in-hand, the same way in which they finished their very first marathon together 30 years ago.
Joe and Kay O'Regan from Co Wexford finished the Cork Marathon hand-in-hand today to celebrate their 80th birthdayshttps://t.co/GrgQBYzDHf— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 6, 2016
Meeting in England and marrying in 1959, the couple ran their first marathon in London when they were 50.
Despite Kay sporting an injury for the past few weeks and an uncertainty that they would make the starting line at all, the O’Regan’s journeyed back to their favorite marathon spot, telling RTÉ News before the race kicked off that they were “as ready as we’ll ever be.”
“They say people who pray together stay together so people who run together stay together, hopefully,” Joe said.
While Harty was the first person to finish in Cork, Nollaigh O'Neill from Leevale was the first woman to complete the race in a time of 3.00.41.
In Dublin it was an all-female affair for the 34th women’s mini marathon with tens of thousands of women taking to the capital’s streets.
The largest female-only event of its kind in the world, and the biggest single-day charity fundraiser in Ireland, the mini marathon is almost complete made up of amateur runners with hundreds of charities benefitting from the cause.
In total, only 6 per cent of the participants are elite runners with emphasis on groups of female family members, friends, and co-workers putting on their running shoes to raise funds for their respective charities.
Almost $227 million (€200m) has been raised for charity in the marathon’s 34 years organizers say.
H/T: RTÉ News.