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Dan Dillon Tackles First Marathon in 21 Years
By David Monti
(c) 2006 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

HONOLULU (07-Dec-2006) -- When Dan Dillon last lined up for a marathon it was more than two decades and 6000 miles from this tropical paradise, but it was still hot.  It was the 1985 Boston Marathon, and Dillon was running in third place when he got the news that defending champion Geoff Smith, who had scorched the first half of the course in 1:02:51, had begun to walk.

But soon Dillon, who had finished 12th at the World Cross Country Championships in 1980, was having troubles of his own.

"I walked in Kenmore Square," said Dillon, 49, in an exclusive interview with Race Results Weekly.  "I remember that."  Kenmore Square is less than two kilometers from the Boston finish line.

Despite walking, Smith went on to win his second consecutive Boston title, while Dillon finished eighth.  It was the last year before Boston began offering prize money.  It was not a great performance, nor a great memory.

"It was really slow," recalled Dillon who ran two hours and 23 minutes.  He was representing Nike's top tier club, Athletics West, but soon after that race at Boston, his star fell.  "I got my demotion after that race," Dillon said, relegated to Nike's Boston club, instead.

Dillon, whose wife Patti is a legend at the Honolulu Marathon having won the race four times, put his own marathon running on the shelf, always meaning to take it down.  No doubt he had the talent; he ran 28:05 for 10,000m and 13:33 for 5000m.  But his body just wouldn't cooperate, and as he got older, things got even worse.  From ages 37 through 47 he didn't run at all because a stress fracture of the navicular bone in his right foot refused to heal.

"I just kept reinjuring it," he said rubbing the top of his foot with his finger.

Dillon, who works as a sound engineer, had no intention earlier this year of running Sunday's Honolulu Marathon.  Instead, he had been training with Patti who had wanted to run.  But she got injured, and after deciding that she could no longer get ready for a December marathon, Dan figured that there was no sense wasting all the solid training he had done.  He put in a couple of 100 mile weeks during the summer, and averaged a steady 75 miles per week.  He ran in the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving Day in 26:07, or a 5:30 per mile pace.  He doesn't think he can maintain that here, but he's looking to run competitively.

"I'm thinking six-something (per mile)," said Dillon, who clearly didn't want to make any predictions.  "I can be 2:40-ish."

Dillon's two children, who are both runners, are here to cheer for their father.  Daughter Raven is 10, and son Aaron is 13, and Dan coaches both of them.  But wife, Patti, is clearly his biggest cheerleader.

"I want him to have a good experience," she said walking up behind him, nestling her head on his shoulder and hugging him.  "I want him to love the marathon as much as I do."

PHOTO: Patti, Aaron, Raven and Dan Dillon (Photo by David Monti)

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