Who's behind Run-Down.com?
|So, who am I? Fair question. My name, as you've hopefully figured out by now, is Dan Kaplan. Some people also know me as d-mail, although I seem to derive more enjoyment from that alias than anyone else does. Real quick -- I'm Canadian, damn proud of it, and not in the least bit patriotic! If that's confusing, then you don't know me too well. Actually, I think I enjoy playing up the Canadian aspect simply because everyone else seems to think it is a big deal.|
Anyway, I spent my first two years of higher education at Whitman College -- a fine academic institution in Walla Walla, Washington. Unfortunately, that is rapidly becoming all it is -- academic. You see, while I was there (no thanks to me), and long before, the school was somewhat of a conference and even national power in athletics. Now, it is, well... But I hear the academics have gotten even better!
After Whitman, I shelved the math books and transfered to Oregon State University for engineering. If anyone cares to listen, I would happily advise them not to follow my example. I hated the engineering program there! Details are available upon request. Nonetheless, my three or so years (I sort of lost count) at OSU were some of my most rewarding.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my time at Whitman a great deal. It was there that I actually received an education and truly began to learn what running meant, and to this day, several of my closest friends are former Whitties. So what set OSU apart for me? It was the satisfaction I discovered by giving back to the sport of running. I spent my last two years there as President of the OSU Cross-Country/Track Club (to be cool, you now must refer to it as the OSU Track Club, or OSU TC), quite simply the premier track club on the West Coast! Honestly though, the position allowed me to grow as a person, as a leader, and as a runner. I received the Excellence In Student Leadership award for 1996-97, an award selected annually from more than 330 student organizations. The unexpected honors are the most rewarding. In the process of working with the club, I got an addicting taste of coaching, meet management, scheduling, and many other related activities. Heck, it was pretty much the only job I have ever truly enjoyed. Hmm, I suppose it didn't hurt that I also got to meet the Prefontaine family while at OSU. And believe it or not, they actually introduced themselves to me!
Since graduating from OSU (with a B.S. in Economics and a Business Administration Minor) in December of 1997, I have taken somewhat of a hiatus from running. Not by choice, though; by the roll of the dice known as injury. I won't bore anyone with my sob story here, I'll save that for the training page. Once a runner... I've missed the sport so much in the past year that I have recently volunteered as the Meet Director/Assistant Track Coach for the Willamette University Track team. Not to worry though, I do have some experience in the field (no pun intended). In 1996, I "created" and organized the 1st Annual OSU Cross-Country Open, which also doubled as the USATF Oregon Association Championships. I also organized the OSU meet in 1997. As of February, 1999, I am a certified official with USA Track & Field. I have also had the opportunity to help out and learn from the track pros at the University of Oregon, a school with a track and field history almost as splendid as that of OSU (sarcasm alert)!
There's no feeling quite like helping others, even if the recognition isn't always there. I cannot stress this enough. Me-first and me-second CAN lead to the same results! Thus, I strongly encourage anyone who loves running (or any other sport or activity for that matter) to get out and help others to discover that love. You'll be glad you did.
Oh yeah, I do have a life aside from running. It's called work. I am the face behind the scenes at AbleDesign Web Design. Previously, I worked as a Research Analyst for the State of Oregon's Office of Medical Assistance Programs in Salem, Environmental & Engineering Services, Inc. in Corvallis, and for Northwest Engineering Services, Inc. in Tigard. That was before I decided to give engineering the cold shoulder.
Also of note, I worked at Topaz Timeless Videos in Beautiful British Columbia, "The only video store in town where you could make a selection blindfolded and be sure of picking a good film." Yes, I enjoy a good movie almost as much as a good run. In fact, I was thinking about doing something movie related with this web page, but I am still waiting for an epiphany. Anyone, anyone?
And back to running... My hope is that this rant will inspire someone else to help and inspire others. Reach out, make your voice heard. Running is a sport that does not lead to easy self-promotion of itself. Too individualistic. But there are people who care. By request, I wrote and had published an article in Northwest Runner Magazine about the history, current status, and future of Track at OSU. If you would like to view the article as it was submitted, click here. Although I am no longer officially affiliated with the OSU Track Club, it is still very important to me that the "Bring Track Back" movement is successful at Oregon State. If you would like to learn more about OSU Track's splendid history and sorry situation at present, or if you would like to contact club members, e-mail me.