It’s been a year of firsts for one of our Blue Line Beginners, who is not only training for his first Akron Marathon Race Series but just made his opera singing debut at Carnegie Hall! Dan Doty, senior minister at The Bath Church, United Church of Christ, is one of our BLBs who reports from the field, as his pastor duties usually keep him busy during our Saturday morning meetups. Here’s more about Dan:

(Dan Doty at Carnegie Hall and after running Torchbearer's 5k, both last month.)

“These past three weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. I ran my first 5K, made my debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City and turned 51!

Reaching the stage of Carnegie Hall was a dream I thought would probably never be realized. As I pursued a profession in ministry, my singing became more of a hobby that ebbed and flowed over time. There are times when I’m busy with multiple performances scheduled, and times when performances are few and far between. But it’s always a good idea to keep honing one’s skills in the interim. In similar fashion, one doesn’t run an organized 5K every day, so training between runs is crucial to success on race day.

I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes several years ago and chose to embark on a healthier lifestyle. I tipped the scales at 365 pounds, so my first strategy was to cut back on what I eat. Running was the farthest thing from my mind. But as I began to lose weight it became easier to exercise. I remember many days traipsing to the Y to walk on the treadmill, slowly lengthening the time of my walk, changing the incline, and increasing speed.

Soon I started walking/running the indoor track. I eventually was able to complete three miles a day, five days a week. I had to tell myself repeatedly that there was no going back. Once I increased my running to walking ratio, I vowed never to decrease it. Today, I’m down 130 pounds and feeling healthier at 51 than I did at 41.

In preparing for the Akron Marathon 8k, I decided to run the Torchbearer’s 5k (about 3 miles versus 5 miles) but I was nervous. What if I couldn’t run that distance? It helped that the race was at night so no one would see the pain in my face. I also told myself that if I had to stop running and walk, then the runners would pass me and later participants would just assume I had been walking along and I wouldn’t feel the “judgement” of not running. I’m wondering if these are all things you think in your half-crazed state of mind in regards to run preparation!

I worried for nothing. I ran most of the race, along with my oldest daughter, my son and his girlfriend. I turned in a time of 34.49 and I was even the first of my family members to cross the finish line. (Maybe that had something to do with the added incentive of the pub crawl that followed the race!)

So, practice, routine, and continued improvement are links between my running and my singing. In this instance, there was one further link – my family. It was such a joy to share my first 5K with family members. Likewise, when I stepped out on the stage of Carnegie Hall last month to sing my solo, the house lights were not all the way down and I could see my family in the audience. Feeling their love and support made all the difference.

Two debuts at the age of 51 – not too bad for a roly-poly kid from Ohio!"

- Dan