FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 23, 2017
Contact: Renee Salvador, Director of Marketing & Public Relations
562-435-4496 ext. 1241, Renee.Salvador@LongBeachSaints.org
St. Anthony High School Alumna Continues to Run for the Gold at 83
Long Beach, CA. The St. Anthony High School Annual Saints Run 5K, hosted Saturday March 11 at Shoreline Aquatic Park in Long Beach, always attracts a blend of participants, serious competitors and fitness enthusiasts, as well as casual walkers. Once again this year, Mrs. Patricia O’Shea Kelly, an alumna of St. Anthony who graduated in 1951, will be easy to spot. She will be wearing purple and white, SA’s iconic colors, and she will most likely bring home another gold medal, placing first in her senior age category.
Notable fact: Pat Kelly holds the record for first place gold medals since the Saints Run 5K was founded seven years ago. This year, at 83 years of age, she hopes to repeat her performance.
Winning 5K races is just a small part of Kelly’s determined, active life, a life that focuses on family, friends and service, balanced with health and fitness. But the Saints Run 5K has a very special place in her heart, as the event benefits students who need financial assistance to enable them to attend St. Anthony High School. Kelly is passionate about providing this opportunity to as many students as possible, as she is so proud of her alma mater and so grateful for the education she received there so many years ago.
Regarding this year’s Saints Run, anyone aspiring to beat Pat Kelly in this race on March 11th needs to be both prepared and quick, because not only does Kelly usually win top honors within her age category, she also finishes ahead of many of the younger folks. Kelly’s race participation is both purposeful and focused, even though she notes that, “Understandably, the race is a social thing for some people. They like to walk, or jog, and talk. I prefer to do it alone — with the goal of getting my gold medal.”
Kelly is not alone in her interest in athletic competition as an active senior. Walk/runners in the 69 and over class in competitive running and walking represent a growing demographic of elderly participants focused on fitness. While not a “runner”, Kelly defines herself as a “power walker”. And to her, the Saints Run 5K is not just a casual walk along the beautiful Long Beach shoreline. It represents an annual milestone in health and fitness and is one of several events in which she participates, including competing in the Mile High 10k in Denver, at 5,000 feet above sea level, with her daughter.
Pat Kelly’s competitiveness reflects an active, focused life and great determination. Born in Hollywood, Kelly has lived in the Long Beach area since 1941, attending local schools. She graduated from St. Anthony High School and then went on to further studies.
“In 1951, it was not customary to graduate from high school and go on to college, but I went to secretarial school and then worked as an administrative assistant for 11 years before getting married.”
Pat Kelly and her husband Dennis raised a family of four, two daughters and two sons. Then at age 55, Kelly’s life took a new turn when, with the encouragement of her entire family, she enrolled in Cal State University Dominguez Hills, while working part time and caring for her aging mother. “They said ‘This is YOUR time’,” says Kelly, who earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services at age 62 and then went on to a Master’s Degree program in Gerontology.
Kelly has been a widow for eight years, but has remained involved and active. Her fitness regimen consists of regular walking and a healthy diet.
“I keep a regular regimen of walking and travel. I visit my kids and grandchildren in Denver, Colorado, Sacramento, California, and Boise, Idaho, and enjoy walking where there is high elevation.” Kelly regularly power walks two to three miles at a time. She is particular about fruits and vegetables in her diet and cites kale and blueberry smoothies amongst her favorites. Related to her level of fitness, Kelly states, “I feel very fortunate — but I do maintain.”
While retired, Kelly is a consistent volunteer at St. Anthony High School where she provides support for alumni relations and various activities. “St. Anthony is more than a school, it’s a family, a remarkable phenomenon,” explains Kelly, who feels the bond that all feel who attended the school where there is a unifying inclusiveness. While Kelly is the only member of the 1951 graduating class that participates in the Saints Run 5K, she and other graduates of her class remain active and social, getting together annually for trips to Solvang and Palm Springs.
All proceeds from the SAINTS RUN 5K help fund St. Anthony High School’s financial aid program providing assistance annually to low income families in the Long Beach area who would not otherwise be able to afford a quality, Catholic, college preparatory education.
St. Anthony High School offers a co-educational college preparatory curriculum with a wealth of extracurricular activities and leadership development opportunities. More information is available on the school's website: www.LongBeachSaints.org or by contacting the high school at 562-435-4496.