By Karen Lozano
When longtime ShadowChase member Dale Ghaner puts his mind to something, you can put money down that it will happen, it just might take a year or two … or 15.
So we shouldn’t be surprised when he saw a list of the 10 most scenic runs in the United States in Runner’s World magazine about 15 years ago and decided “it might be kind of fun to run them,” that this would become an eventual reality.
“I’m sure with so many marathons that have come along there are others to choose from, but I am going by my old list,” he says. “We will be going to Twin Cities in St. Paul, MN in October for hopefully #9, then Maui would be #10.
“All of them have been memorable and scenic but Catalina Island was special. I had asked (the late beloved club member) Charlie Johnson to go with me and the next thing you know we had 28 people going taking part in some way or another. But I also do think that was the hardest marathon so far.”
And he hasn’t been disappointed by the list. “I have to say the eight that I have done have all been beautiful.”
Ghaner just ended his position on the ShadowChase Running Club Board of Directors, but some of our newer members may be surprised to learn that he was club president in 1995, and served as vice president and secretary for a few years.
Ghaner joined SC around 1988. “I went to a few meetings and then did some volunteering at the old Modesto Marathon.”
He held the position on the board as the Run Director, a “go-between for the club and outside groups wanting to put on races.” He answered their questions and offered advice on what they have going on and if Shadowchase will be able to help them.
Ghaner does “mostly whatever might be needed at races,” he says. “See a need, fill a need.”
But he is probably most known for his 10-year stint as run director for the Cancer Awareness Run. His wife of 43 years, Loretta, though not a runner, has been by his side every step of the way.
Ghaner’s latest volunteer venture is as co-director with Al Miller and Bruce Edwards for the Riverbank Run for Cheese.
“What I like at the races is the people — 99% are good, positive people doing what they enjoy.”
Ghaner says he also enjoys “the ‘don’t judge’ attitude runners have. When new people get into this there is always the fear that they are not fast, too heavy, not wearing the right clothes. But just being out shows that you care and are willing to give it a go and I respect and love to see it.”
But, he admits, “There does always seem to be that one or two that have to make things difficult.” So what motivates him to keep coming back for more?
“ The breakfast after races is special,” he says.
Ghaner has seen many changes over the years, but the biggest change is “the amount of people in the club.
“We were a 70 to 80-member club for a long time and now 10 times that!” he says. “We offer so many different avenues that members can use to fit different types of running. The only thing is with all of the different outlets, we do have to run it like a business now.”
Those not familiar with Ghaner may be surprised to discover that he is an accomplished marathon and ultra runner himself, although if you ask how many he has run, he says he would have to count them, then defers to other ultra runners in the club.
His favorite? “The Tahoe Triple — three marathons in three days around Lake Tahoe. I did it with Ray Jackson and Barb Elia.”
His most memorable? “Running in Vermont with Charlie Johnson and (former club president who died while in office) Frank Earnest.” That was the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run – his only attempt at that distance. He made it to mile 83, and yes, it still eats at him. Don’t check that one off just yet.
Oh, and also quite memorable are the 25 or so relays he has done with club members, he adds. “Those fit into the good, the bad and ugly, but they all are memorable,” he laughs.
His advice for new runners? “Don’t rush doing distances. Be in it for the long haul.”
And if you’re as fortunate as Ghaner, you’ll find yourself setting and meeting goals well into your retirement years.
If you know a ShadowChase Running Club volunteer you would like to see in the spotlight, please contact Karen Lozano at firstname.lastname@example.org.