Nova Scotia

Blue Nose couple say running adds romance to their relationship

Halifax seniors John Rideout and Jenny Keenan are getting set to run in their 15th Blue Nose Marathon 15K race.

Seniors met while dancing and have run in all 15 Blue Nose Marathon events

John Rideout and Jenny Keenan are set to run at their 15th Scotia Bank Blue Nose Marathon.

John Rideout and Jenny Keenan are getting ready to run in their 15th Blue Nose Marathon race this month, adding another chapter to a love story dating back 17 years. 

The Halifax couple will run the new 15K race on May 20. Keenan will turn 72 on the course. Rideout, 80, says their first meeting came on a fitting day. 

"February 17, 2001; it was a Valentine's dance," said Rideout.

As their relationship grew, they started to do some of the same things. Rideout took up running in the 1970s and introduced Keenan to the sport.

"He challenged me to try and run the Saint Mary's track and I didn't think that I could do it," said Keenan. "But he gave me a lot of encouragement and when I finally did it, I got on the phone and called everyone I knew to tell them I actually ran the track."

The running bug bit Keenan hard and she never looked back. She has run full marathons, but prefers the 10- and 15-kilometre races. She also coaches younger runners.

Both Keenan and Rideout have run a race at the Blue Nose every year since it began in 2004.

Rideout's motivation is simple. "The fear of, if I stop, I may never get going again," said Rideout. "That's very motivating and I know I'm not the only one because when you get older, if you miss time due to an illness or injury, it's hard to go back to where you left off."

Keenan and Rideout don't just stay busy running Halifax roads.

They are also accomplished ballroom dancers who are members of the Corte Dance Club in Halifax. In fact, that's how they met. 

"I used to do competitive dancing for a short period of time and that's where I met John — at the dance studio," said Keenan. "I really love dancing because it makes you feel free, just like running."

About the Author

Paul Palmeter is an award-winning video journalist born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. He has covered news and sports stories across the province for 30 years.