• Sunday, May 5, 2024
  • 12 Kilometers (7.46 miles)
  • Spokane, Washington
  • 48th Running

Who's that singing on the Bloomsday starting line?

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Spokane, WA—For the third straight year, Bloomsday participants will be treated to a live starting line performance by stellar vocalist John Keston of McMinnville, Oregon. Keston will sing "O, Canada" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" for runners as they wait for the race to begin. The 79-year-old is not only an outstanding singer, but also a noted actor and world-class age-group runner. Keston is frequently called upon to perform at races around the country.

Keston's credentials as a runner are exceptional. He began running at age 55 as a way of controlling mild hypertension. He enjoyed steady improvement, eventually recording a personal marathon best of 2:52:32, but his real talent has been his ability to run fast times well into his 60s and 70s. In 1996, at age 71, he barely missed becoming the first and only runner over age 70 to break 3 hours in the marathon, as he posted a 3:00:58 at the 1996 Twin Cities Marathon. In recent years he has posted age-group records at a variety of distances, including an age-78 world record for 12-kilometers in last year's Bloomsday Run.

As if his skills as a vocalist and athlete weren't enough, Keston remains busy as an actor, a profession he took up with the Shakespearian Company in Britain shortly after serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Keston's acting and singing careers continued while he was teaching at Bemidji State in Minnesota, and today he has found a new acting niche in cyberspace. Computer game aficionados will recognize him as Gehn, one of the main characters in the popular video game Riven.