70 year-old Charleston woman hangs up shoes after 80 marathons

Updated: Aug. 7, 2015 at 7:42 PM EDT
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Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston woman is back home after running her 80th marathon!

It's been 32 years since her first one in New York City, now she's hanging up the shoes.

Joan Mulvihill, 70, was never a runner to begin with.

She played tennis and basketball growing up, never interested in long distance running.

That's until an unexpected dare, you can call it, came about following her husband's friend running the New York City marathon in 1982.

"I didn't know anyone could run," Mulvihill said. "He was just a regular person. My husband goes yeah, yeah, and I said 'I think I'll do that next year.' And he goes, 'no you won't'... so that's all I needed to hear."

Mulvihill was 38 when she ran her first marathon; finishing at five hours and four minutes.

Last week in San Francisco she ran her final marathon, number 80, finishing at five hours and four minutes, again.

"They had a six hour time limit and I was awfully worried about not doing that," Mulvihill laughed. "So I was happy with how it turned out. Weather was fabulous."

Never did she think she'd be sitting here, looking back on her journey not only across the country, but around the world.

She's run marathons in both Paris, France and Dublin, Ireland.

In 2007 she accomplished a milestone not everyone can say, running a marathon in all 50 states.

"It was unreal," Mulvihill said. "Hawaii was a paradise...yeah so that was cool. And I thought maybe that would be it, but then every once and a while one of my friends would be like 'do this one with me,' and I'd say ok."

Then in 2012 she got some bad news. Her cousin was in need of a kidney.

Mulvihill was 68 and a match, but doctors were worried about her low heart rate, one that was a result from years of running.

She prepared for the surgery as she had for all her marathons.

Her cousin, Pat, will be 79 this Fall, and is living an active happy life.

"It was good," Mulvihill said.

Thirty-two years after her first marathon, she's slowing down, and has no plans to run another marathon.

Training has worn on her body, and she's ready to relax with her husband, and pug named Rocky.

Mulvihill has run in several races here in the Lowcountry.

She says she'll continue to run these smaller scaled races until she can't anymore.

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