4 Years Together
Jen Dingle started running to help her quit smoking in 2009. As she shared her journey on social media, the Amherstburg, Ont. health care worker found a Twitter follower looking for inspiration to become healthier and happier.
Ben Richard was a 320 pound, pizza chomping I.T. worker who lived four hours away in Pickering. Jen’s journey turned him on to running and weight lifting (and her). He dropped 130 pounds and became a dedicated marathoner and gym rat. When they finally met face to face, it cemented their love and they have been a couple for four years, even though they still live four hours apart. Jen is about to tackle her first full marathon this May in Ottawa.
“Because fitness brought us together, it plays a huge roll in our relationship. We are constantly discussing our training plans, making sure to support each other’s goals and showing concern when one of us loses motivation,” says Jen. Adds Ben, “We only see each other 4-5 days a month … and workouts are always part of our schedule. The conversation usually goes a little something like this: ‘And when are we running?’”
Jen says couples looking to bond over workouts could “take a fitness class. Sign up for a local 5K race and get out the door for runs after dinner. Hold hands when crossing the finishing line. Do a partner yoga session. Make sure exercise is a priority. Being healthy and getting fit together helps with everyday stress and makes for a happier relationship.”`