Nova Scotia

Former smoker to run his age at Blue Nose Marathon

Twelve years ago, Dan Buckle was a middle-aged man who had smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for more than 30 years. It was a bad habit he picked up as a teenager. Now living in Middle Sackville, he’s traded that addiction for another one — running.

'People say I’m crazy but when I turned 50 it was a challenge I put on myself'

Middle Sackville runner Dan Buckle once smoked a pack of cigarettes every day. Now he can run a marathon. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

A dozen years ago, Dan Buckle was a middle-aged man who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for more than 30 years.

It was a bad habit he picked up as a teenager growing up in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now living in Middle Sackville, N.S., he's traded that addiction for another one — running.

Buckle and his wife bought a treadmill for Christmas in 2006. But it wasn't long before Dan was hitting the road.

He had no idea it would lead to the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon.

"A friend of mine was doing the 10K in the Blue Nose that year and she said, 'Why don't you come down to the Running Room?'," says Buckle. "So I went down and from that one day I've been hooked ever since."

When he turned 50, Buckle decided he would run 50 kilometres at the Blue Nose to match his age.

Since then he's matched that feat and added one kilometre each year.

At this Sunday's Blue Nose event, he will run 58 kilometres to match his age of 58. A regulation marathon is 42.2 kilometres.

He is planning to run 16 kilometres prior to the start of the race. He intends to arrive at the marathon start line just as the marathon is about to begin.

His own mega-marathon is a team effort. He will be joined by several of his running friends from the Running Room in Bedford.

"There will be a group of us, about six or eight of us, and we'll be running Dan down to the start line," says runner Jennifer Power. "It gets him all warmed up for the full marathon and we have a lot of fun and talk the whole way. We try to be very encouraging because Dan is a real inspiration for us."

Buckle doesn't have a long-term plan to keep running his age but he says he would like to do it for two more years to take him up to age 60.

"It is getting tougher every year and everyone I'm training with they are getting ready to run a marathon, which is 42 kilometres," said Buckle. "I usually get out before them, and also after, to try and tack on a few extra kilometres to build for 58.

Buckle says it will take him close to seven hours to complete his distance.

He says he runs upwards of 2,500 kilometres each year.

Averaging that total over the past nine years, he has put in 20,250 kilometres in training. That equates to nine return trips to Montreal.

"People say I'm crazy but when I turned 50 it was a challenge I put on myself," says Buckle. "I've kept it up all these years and people know now that once I put my mind into something like that, I go through with it."

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.