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How to participate in a marathon when you’re 92 years old

Tuesday, Jun. 4, 2019

* A special thank you to Lifemark’s Blair Johnston for all his help putting together this article

The Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon, a charity event in Nova Scotia, is taking place once again this year in historic Halifax, from June 6th to June 9th, 2019. As the title sponsor of an event that takes place during Blue Nose weekend, the Lifemark 5KM, we are thrilled to support people coming together to move and have fun.

This year, as we were preparing for the race, we met a man whose incredible story moved us. Today on our blog, we’re delighted to be able to share with all of you Dale DuPlessis’ journey. Dale is a 92-year-old race participant who perfectly embodies Lifemark’s mission statement, “Movement to a Better Life.” We hope you find Dale’s story as inspiring as we did.

Meet Dale DuPlessis

A resident of Riverview, New Brunswick, Dale DuPlessis will be competing in the Lifemark 5KM for the 9th time this year. To complete the race, Dale walks all 5 kilometres alongside members of his family, with everyone wearing custom made bright green t-shirts.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Dale says. “The entire family goes through the walk with me. Nobody is pressured to go faster or slower. My children, my grandchildren, everyone is very kind and supportive. Sometimes one of my granddaughters will say, ‘Grampy, are you doing okay?’ and I say, ‘Oh yeah, this is really good.’”

Dale was originally signed up for the event by one of his sons as a joke, just a funny Christmas present intended as a gag. But Dale didn’t think it was such a bad idea. “One of my granddaughters encouraged me to do it,” Dale explains. “And I said Morgan, if you go with me, it’s on.“

“The first year, it was just my granddaughter and I,” he adds. “The next year, there were a few more of us, and now this year there’s at least 18 of us, including my 3 children and 6 grandchildren. My entire family, children, grandchildren, in-laws, some boyfriends, girlfriends, extended family, friends, they all show up now. It’s kind of a big family gathering!”

Not only that, but Dale’s enthusiasm, dedication and positive energy can also be contagious to people outside his immediate family. “One year, a friend of one of my sons who lives in Calgary decided that maybe he should fly himself down and participate, too,” Dale explains. “He’s been down twice now! It’s a lot of fun to have him tag along.”

Preparing for a race at the age of 92

Dale is a retired veterinarian. One of thirteen siblings, he was raised on a farm in New Brunswick where he learned the value of hard work, eating healthy and walking as a way to live an active lifestyle. “Walking has been a part of my life pretty much from the start,” he says. “I’ve always enjoyed walking in nature and witnessing wildlife.”

The epitome of “early to bed and early to rise,” Dale begins each day with a stretching routine for his neck, back and shoulders before going for a long walk. “I do this first thing in the morning because I find that if I don’t do it right away, sometimes the day zooms by and I can’t get my walk in,” Dale adds. It’s not uncommon for him to walk an hour or more and still be home by 7 am, just on time to have breakfast.

Dale lives near a wooded area, enjoys tending to a large vegetable garden and is able to grow much of his own food. He is an award-winning giant pumpkin grower and cultivates some of the sweetest corn and raspberries on the planet. An extensive traveller, Dale has even climbed Mount Katahdin in Maine. On his 90th birthday, he travelled with his family to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, where he put a lot of miles on his hiking boots.

Dale’s time for completing the Lifemark 5KM event last year was 53 minutes. “That’s the official time,” he adds. “I don’t necessarily try to beat my own time, I just want to do as well as I did the year before.”

When asked where he finds the energy and motivation to continue participating in the Lifemark 5KM year after year, Dale is quick to point to his family as an outstanding source of support. “I look forward to it every year,” Dale says. “I always feel excited. It’s a wonderful activity as a family and we all enjoy the exercise we get.”

Dale’s active lifestyle, family values and generosity will probably influence his family for generations to come. Dale’s grandchildren carry on his tradition and appreciate the value of being active and making home-cooked meals.

Gearing up for Blue Nose weekend

If you’d like to go see Dale compete, the Lifemark 5KM event will be taking place in Halifax on Saturday, June 8th. The start line is located on Sackville Street, near Queen. For more information about the event, make sure to visit the Blue Nose Marathon website. To those competing, including the awesome people who participated in our Team Myles training program, we’ll be cheering you on from the Lifemark water stations along the route. 

Lastly, we should mention that it’s not too late to register for the Lifemark 5KM event. If you’re new to running, this is the perfect challenge!

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