by LINDA FRABL | photo by Alan Smith Photography

Marathon Man

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Dan Nodalo immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines in the 1980s, and settled down in Poway back in 1989. For many years he was solely focused on his work as an RN and raising his three children. But for the past 14 years, Dan has had a new focus: running marathons. It all began back in 2003, when Dan’s sister informed him that she was going to run in the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and that she had signed him up too. Because he had never even run a 5K at that point, Dan researched training tips online and ran for hours on a treadmill. He recalled, “I not only completed the race, but beat my sister’s time, running 4:58:40! I loved the act of running, being in the moment, and letting my thoughts wander. It felt like freedom.”

“I loved the act of running, being in the moment, and letting my thoughts wander. It felt like freedom.”

The experience was so transformative for Dan that he continually ups the ante with his marathon goals. He elaborated, “I soon set a goal to run a marathon in every state. Then I decided to run on every continent. I have now run marathons in 14 states and across the globe!”

The best marathon experience Dan ever had was when he ran the Knysna Forest Marathon in South Africa. He reminisced, “The entire course was in a forest without any vehicles or spectators. The only sounds I heard were the birds humming, the trees swaying, and the footsteps of the runners.”

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During that particular marathon, Dan came across a fellow competitor who was on the ground, unresponsive. Dan remembered, “I performed CPR before the ambulance arrived, and the man survived. I then continued running and made it to the finish line. I realized that finishing was not important to me anymore, but the journey was.”

Dan is currently training for another journey: running a marathon in Antarctica this March. He was on a waiting list for the past two years, and only 100 runners from all over the world are participating. Naturally, Dan can’t wait for the adventure!

Dan now helps others train for their own racing adventures through the nonprofit he co-founded, San Diego SoleMates. He coaches members to pursue their fitness goals, whether it’s their first 5K, 10K, or half or full marathon. Dan exclaimed, “I am passionate about making the community healthier and fitter.”