Coast couple celebrate lifetime of helping others

7 Jul

By Sarah White, Bond University Journalism Student

High school sweethearts Joan and Greg Darlington volunteered for the 30th year last weekend at the Gold Coast Marathon, topping off an array of community service commitments.

Mrs Darlington also completed the 10km Cold Coast run and placed second in her age group.

She has competed in more than 50 marathons from London to China and Ireland but said her favourite will always be here on the Coast.

“I do love it here, and probably the year I did my PB is my favourite because you’re coming home and you feel so good and so elated that you’re doing a PB at home,” she said.

She is one of only two women to be a part of the 20-year Gold Coast Marathon Club and has even completed ultra marathons and 24-hour events, saying that hard work really does pay off.

“Its funny, the harder I train the luckier I get,” said Mrs Darlington.

Husband Greg has nothing but praise for his high achieving wife, saying no one trains harder than Joan.

“She never got any worse the older she got,” he said.

“Some of her records are still in the Queensland records and Australian records that are phenomenal times.

“Joan didn’t lose her standard until she got much later in life, she was still running class times in her 50s but for ultra marathons being old is not a disadvantage.”

Adding to her ongoing running career, Mrs Darlington carried the Olympic torch in the lead up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Gold Coast Marathon internee Kimberley Pearce said the inspiring couple are two of the most loving and humble people she knows.

“Joan and Greg are two of the most welcoming people I am privileged to have met,” said Kimberley.

“Both their successes triumph anyone at their age, they inspire me and excite me for life”.

Mr Darlington is a Vietnam War veteran taking the couple across Australia and Asia from Singleton, New South Wales to Malaya and everywhere in between.

When the local couple returned home and moved to Gold Coast they began their string of volunteer positions including with the Gold Coast Marathon and Crime Stoppers Schoolies.

Mrs Darlington even knits jumpers for penguins at Phillip Island in Victoria and once a week helps out with Trauma Teddies for local hospitals.

“We keep the ambulance in supply of teddies here and when all the floods were out west a few years ago all the children got them,” said Mrs Darlington.

The couple also received the Bravery Award in 2013 for their part in stopping the beating of their next-door neighbour.

They were presented with their medals by then Governor-General Quentin Brice and are the only couple in Australia to receive the medal together.

The Darlington’s will be celebrating their 52nd anniversary in August this year and show no sign of slowing down.




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