Most octogenarians would have their feet up with a nice cup of tea in hand, but not husband and wife, Joe and Kay O’Regan, who held hands as they crossed the finish line of Irish Examiner Cork City Marathon.
They showed little ill effects, while up to 60 people, many a third of their age, were treated by paramedics for breathing difficulties, dehydration and sprains.
To the loudest applause of the day the couple from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, crossed the finishing line in 5hrs, 25mins and 24 seconds.
“We’re big into vegetables and fruit. We’re not on any medication and don’t smoke or drink either. But we’ll celebrate with a glass of champagne,” said Joe who has completed 29 marathons compared to his wife’s 113.
Kay said she was “holding back a bit” because her husband wasn’t used to long-distance running. After they kissed, she said this was definitely her last marathon.
Seamus Jordan, 49, from Slaney Olympics Athletic Club who ran alongside them, said “they’re a truly amazing couple”.
“For the first 17 miles we averaged nine minutes and 30 seconds per miles, after that we eased it off to 11 minute miles,” he said.
Another roar went up when Damien Coleman, 33, from Blackrock Hurling Club in Cork crossed the line with the sliotar still balanced on his hurley.
“I may have dropped it 25 times on the way, which isn’t bad,” he said.
He finished in 4 hours 28 minutes, and destroyed the former Guinness Book Of Records time for ‘soloing’ by an hour and a half.
“I’ll hopefully be back again next year to try and beat the time I did. I hope to make around €1,000 in sponsorship which will be divided evenly between Cork Simon and the hurling club,” said Damien, a lecturer in mechanical vehicles at CIT.
Alex O’Shea, who broke the Guinness World Record in 2014 when he ran the Cork City Marathon in full firefighting gear, finished yesterday’s marathon in 11th place in 2 hours, 48 minutes and 59 seconds.
It was a remarkable feat as he had just completed a 24-hour shift with the Cork City Fire Brigade an hour before the race started.
The winner of the full marathon was Philip Harty from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, who completed the 26.2 mile course in 2 hours, 32 minutes and 59 seconds.
“I enjoyed it up to the last mile when I started cramping up a bit. The heat got tough in the last couple of miles, but the crowds were fantastic and they really kept me going,” the 37-year-old fireman said.
It was his first appearance in the Cork full marathon.
Eoin Sugrue, a HSE physiotherapist from Banteer, Co Cork, followed him less than four minutes later.
“I’m 43, but I feel about 21 at the moment,” he said seconds after crossing the line. “It’s nice to be the first Corkman home. I do about 60 to 70 miles training a week. As soon as I go home I’ll have a pint,” Eoin said.
The female winner of the full marathon was Nollaig O’Neill, 44, from Passage West, Co Cork, who completed it in 3 hours and 41 seconds.
“My mental strength got me through. My daughter, Sarah Hunter, completed in this year’s relay, so hopefully there’s another marathon runner there one day,” Nollaig said.
The men’s half marathon title was captured by Kenyan-born Peter Somba, 24, in 1 hour and 11 minutes. Peter, from Dunboyne Athletic Club, ran in last year’s event, but came 50th because he was carrying an injury.
Aoife Cooke from Youghal, Co Cork, won the women’s half marathon in a time of 1 hour, 25 minutes and 29 seconds.
The relay title went to Cork’s Leevale AC, with Chris Mintern, 21, crossing the line for the team after 2 hours and 23 minutes.
For others it was just about participating, having fun dressing up as cartoon characters and in many cases raising money.
Race director Jim O’Donovan said he wanted to congratulate the thousands who crossed the line. “It’s a huge achievement, and particular thanks to those who ran for charity raising significant funds for a variety of great causes,” he said.
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