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74 Year-old Kay O' Regan is going for her 100 Marathon next October!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Some people seem intent on defying the limits of age. Take Kay O'Regan, who, last weekend completed her 96th marathon at the age of 74!Not content with that milestone, she plans to reach her 100th by running five more this year!

Her ambitious plan will then see her take part in a series of city marathons, starting with Belfast in May, followed by Cork in June, Berlin in September and finally Dublin in October.

It's an exceptional thing to be running such distances in your 70s but attempting five in the space of several months is surely remarkable.

From that modest beginning, she rapidly developed into a serious competitor, running marathons and half marathons all over the world and slashing her personal best times for the distances along the way.

Kay is no mere back number content to walk or jog around the 26 miles - her average time for the distance, as a septuagenarian, is under four and a half hours.

She has a best time of three hours 35 minutes achieved in Melbourne in 1994 at the tender age of 58.

So how did this love affair with distance running begin?

When I was living in the UK in the 1980s, my son began running while studying for his A-levels. One night I rebuked him for not going because it was raining. He responded by suggesting the next time she join him. And that's how it all started.

Several months later I completed my first half marathon before going on to finish my first full marathon in London at the age of 50.

Kay not many people of your age can keep this up this range of running, what's your secret?

Well, You get short-distance runners and you get long-distance runners, and I guess I'm of the long-distance variety. It just doesn't seem to take too much out of me.
I find getting out in the fresh air very therapeutic, better than any medicine..

You recently completed the Connemara marathon with Joe, how did it go?

It went well, I came first in the over 60 and 70's. I tend to win my age group in a lot of runs but there are so few of us, I usually have to take my chances with the 60 year olds..

How often do you train?

I train up to five times a week around the back roads of Enniscorthy, this is often often in the company of other runners my athletics club - Slaney Olympic Athletic Club. I also do a lot of running on my own I often completed a 17-mile run with running club mates while I'm training.

What time did you run the first marathon at?

I ran that first marathon in four hours and 40 minutes with my husband Joe, who incidentally also runs marathons, but has only completed a paltry 26 of them.

Do you regret not starting at a younger age maybe you might have made the ranks of the elite?

Not really. You can burn out quickly at that level. I probably wouldn't be running today if I had run at that level in my youth.

Kay, you had no experience of running prior to taking it up at the age 49?

It was just a natural fit for me. I'm really not sure what attracted me to it in the first place. But I'd hate to have to stop. I had always kept fit and active through playing badminton and squash.

What was some of your memorable runs?

One of the more exotic ones, was the midnight sun marathon in Norway where competitors start at 10pm and run through the so-called white night.

What was your high point?

My high point remains my performance in the notoriously gruelling Isle of Man marathon in 1998, where I was the first woman home.

We also have a picture of you running in Berlin in 2005?

Yes, you can see me here coming in at the finish line, this course had a particularly good finishing course, and I have complete that Brussels twice

What does you doctor think of you running?

I think he's secretly quite proud that he has a runner of my age on his books. There's no secret to running at my age, I'm just lucky I can do it.

Have you changed your training?

I have not changed my training for the five-marathon bid. I've done a few longer runs in training but it's really just about staying fresh and injury free.

Kay your son Fintan is going to join you in your 100th marathon in Dublin, to mark the occasion?

Yes, my son and his college friends, now incidentally in their 50s, plan to run the Dublin marathon next October to honour the occasion of my 100th marathon - it will be my son's first!

Would there be any particular food that you eat Kay?

Well I don't really have special diet, but I do tend to eat a lot of fruit and veg. I generally have eaten what the family have eaten. Some people are cut of for the long distance running and I think that I am one of those people.

Are you at all contemplating retirement from competitive running anytime soon?

I have no intention of packing up. As long as I am able to walk, I hope to be able to run.

What Advice would you give to people are in the 50's, 60's and are thinking of getting into running?

I would tell them to start slowly at first, maybe just do a ten minute run or something like that.. or maybe just do a mile. do this for a couple of weeks and then keep building it up.. Maybe then after a number of weeks, you can increase it and go longer if you want to.. or you also have the possibility of joining a club. When you got to London you find that there are more older people over there taking part in Marathons.. and I supposes that maybe we should be doing more of that over here

Catherine's 2010 Schedule:-

April 11th:- Ron Hill Connemarathon (completed)

May 3rd:- Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon

June 7th:- Bord Gais Energy Cork City Marathon

September 26th:- Berlin Marathon

October 25th: Lifestyle Sports-adidas Dublin Marathon -