Running Royalty – Masters Runner Dan King

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This piece originally appeared the first ever Boulder Running Journal.

“Dan King” rang out in both English and in Spanish over the loudspeaker at the 1500 meter finals in the main stadium in Lyon, France. He took a step forward and gave a one handed wave to the crowd before stepping back to the line while the others were introduced. The field for the final, part of the World Masters Athletics Track and Field Championships, had been winnowed down from 85 men; more than 8,000 masters runners from around the world were there for all events. The day of King’s race, athletes and fans packed the stadium and the roar of the crowd on top of the constant music added electricity to the air.

“I was 5 times more nervous stepping up to the line that day,” Dan noted as most of the events take place in venues with little attendance. “It was a very cool experience”.

Previous to this race King took 5th place in the 8k cross country race and won the Bronze medal in the 5000m in the 55-59 age group, despite the 100 degree temperatures. He also competed in the half marathon. Between the previous races, the heat and getting through the qualifiers he was spent, and still managed to run a strong 4:37 in the 1500 meter final.

Dan can trace his running lineage back to his father who was a strong middle distance runner training for the Olympic trials while teaching and coaching XC at the local high school. Even as he grew up he remembered that his dad would never miss a day of training. “Our entire life, it was part of his training routine. He loved to be fit and to compete.”

Dan King went to CU to run cross country as did his brother and sister. His other sister Laura didn’t take to running then but is still a competitive masters runner with her husband Rick Bruess, also a Masters elite. The extended King clan often dominated the Family Competition in the Bolder Boulder while they still contested it.

Dan King in the 1500m at Worlds Masters Championships

Dan King in the 1500m Final at Worlds Masters Championships

The tradition continues

Now the tradition has been passed down to his daughter Sarah who is competing in her third season at Fairview H.S.

To wife Monika and Dan’s extreme delight, Sarah has fully embraced running and is good at it (she just finished 4th in the 5A XC Regionals where the Fairview girls dominated as a team and took first place). All summer, whether it was in the California Sierras, the German forests, all over Lyon in the hills of the French Provence or the Boulder Foothills with her Fairview teammates, Sarah diligently got her training/base building runs in.

“I like watching the two of them experience so much joy, excitement, success and passion with their own AND each other’s running’ – Monika King

And so did Dan, although since his is prone to nasty bouts of plantar fasciitis he had to approach it completely differently. It flared up again after running the mile on the track this summer just before heading over to France. So he got to the starting line through disciplined cross-training, putting in relatively few miles of running but doing lots of cycling, pool running, swimming, and hard sessions on the elliptical.

Sarah runs for Fairview and finished 4th in the 5A XC regionals.

Sarah runs for Fairview and finished 4th in the 5A XC regionals.

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