80-year-old married runners just ran their last marathon together holding hands.

Getting older can come with a lot of difficulties. But perhaps the greatest is dealing with weird assumptions about things you can or can't do just because you've lived on this planet longer than others.

Unless, that is, you opt to simply leave those misconceptions in the dust.

That's what 80-year-old Kay and Joe O'Regan did when they decided to start running marathons at age 50.


Here they are crossing their first finish line together in 1986, alongside their most recent hand-in-hand victory:


But the O'Regans aren't just finishing marathons — they're snagging first place in their age brackets. In the Cork City Marathon, which took place on June 6, 2016, they had the fastest time for their group: 5:25:29.

Even though they took up running later in life, that hasn't stopped them from quite literally going the distance.

Photo by Darragh Kane, used with permission.

Joe has run in 29 marathons since 1986, but Kay has massively outpaced him with a whopping 113 marathons under her belt. She's won the Irish National Marathon Championships several times and has broken records too: Her time at the Cork City Marathon earned her the status of fastest 80-year-old woman in the United Kingdom.

While the couple has run many races together and separately, they ran both their first and their most recent (which will also be their last) holding hands.

Photo by Darragh Kane, used with permission.

Kay told People that she thought holding hands definitely helped give Joe the little burst of energy he needed to make it across the finish line — which just goes to show that even in a marriage 57 years strong, love is still key to getting through life.

Aside from their adorable finish, Joe and Kay said they don't see themselves as extraordinary in the slightest.

"Running is just something we do," Joe told Runner's World.

These octogenarians are proof that people are capable of amazing things at any age.

The O'Regans are far from the only ones demonstrating that through their hobbies.

Last year, 92-year-old Harriette Thompson from Charlotte, North Carolina, became the oldest woman to ever finish a marathon. That's 26.2 miles, folks. And she's 92.

Harriette Thompson finishing the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Image via ABC 10 News/YouTube.

86-year-old Yvonne Dowlen has been figure skating since she was 16. Even when she got a bad concussion at 80 and her doctor told her to hang up her skates, she pushed through and still manages to train for an hour every day.

No big deal, but 78-year-old Shirley Webb can deadlift 237 pounds and recently set the deadlift record in Illinois.

So yes, sure, for some people life might get slower with age. But these folks are living proof that it doesn't have to.

It doesn't mean you need to complete crazy feats of strength and endurance to stay fit and healthy. But if you like to be active, it's important to keep pushing yourself forward in order for your body to keep up with your goals.

And of course, it doesn't hurt to have a loving running body cheering you on.

Photo by Darragh Kane, used with permission.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less