Half Marathon Inspires Door County Man to Run



Jake Danen after finishing the 2009 Door County Half Marathon.


When organizers tossed ideas around for the Door County Half Marathon over coffee at Al Johnson‘s restaurant in 2007, they felt pretty confident they could attract experienced runners to an event on the Door Peninsula. What they didn’t anticipate is that the event would inspire so many Door County residents to take their life running in a new direction.




Take Baileys Harbor carpenter Jake Danen. He had run cross-country in high school at East DePere but gave up the sport until the Door County Half Marathon was launched in 2008, when he was 26. Now, the 29-year-old who gets his miles in on the back roads of Baileys Harbor has his sites set on Boston.




Jake’s Take on the Door County Half Marathon:




Why the half marathon helped get me running again:  It was kind of on a whim. I was looking for something to do in the winter in Door County, and this was created. I figured exercise couldn’t be a bad thing. I had sort of gotten into a rut and wanted to overhaul my life and my diet.




Why I stick with it: It adds some structure to my life and helps define me beyond just being a carpenter. I think of myself more as a runner now. And it’s the only time during the day that I can be active but totally in charge of my life.




Best advice I received:  Listen to your body. Training programs are really, really good things, but they can also be really dangerous if you don’t listen to your body. That, and track your shoe mileage.




Weekly mileage:  I peak at 56, but average about 34, almost exclusively in the afternoons after work.




Events run:  Three marathons, four half marathons, two 50-mile team relays, and several 5 and 10ks.




Favorite Courses:  The Door County Half Marathon and the Jacksonport Maifest (10k).




PR:  Marathon, 3:08:34 (Chicago 2010); Half Marathon, 1:32:39 (Door County, 2009)




Goals:  Boston. I wanted to sign up, but it filled in eight hours. But I’m now going to run it for Livestrong. [Livestrong requires runners to raise $2,500 in exchange for a place in the Boston Marathon. Danen is about halfway to his fundraising goal. To help him out click here.] Long-term, I would just like to be able to keep doing it. I see people in their 60s completing marathons. That’s inspiring. How far can I push this thing? How many can I do?