What do you call a man who has run for 48 years; taught the same class at the Ann Arbor YMCA for 48 years; owned University of Michigan football tickets for 48 years; competed in all 44 Dexter-Ann Arbor Run events, is set to run the 45th on Sunday June 3, 2018 and will celebrate his 54th wedding anniversary on June 20th?
Many, including Elmo Morales, co-founder of the Ann Arbor Track Club and Dexter-Ann Arbor Run, fondly describe Dan Gamble as consistent or “routinized.”
I believe ‘dedicated’ to be more telling, and Mitch Garner, AATC President, maintains ‘Dan to be an inspiration who reflects the core values of distance running: tenacity, persistence and determination.’
Born in 1942, Gamble has been a valued member of the Ann Arbor Track Club for over 39 years, and based on current records substantiated by Garner and race director, Doug Goodhue, is the only individual to have competed in every Dexter-Ann Arbor Run since its humble beginnings in 1974.
And if Morales, as depicted by Gamble, is “the Father of Ann Arbor Community Running,” then Dan is its treasured son.
An instrumental contributor to the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run and the AATC for many years including his ten year reign as Run treasurer and key role in achieving the Club’s 501c3 not-for-profit corporation status, Gamble also held free weekly training runs, complete with aid stations, for more than a decade open to anyone who wanted to take part.
So esteemed, Dan was nominated and chosen to be a torchbearer for the 2002 Winter Olympic Torch Relay.
His “proudest achievement,” Gamble recalls, “I was nominated by a lady who participated in my YMCA class and chosen out of several thousand nominees. It was a huge thrill to run about a half mile in front of hundreds of people who were cheering for just me and the torch. To make it even more exciting, my two legs were in front of Michigan Stadium and down Main Street. Pioneer High School even let the student body out to watch.”
Now retired from his 31 year career in human resources at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Dan continues to run, teach his “Conditioning for Life” class at the YMCA as well as serve on its board of directors, a position he has held for the past 26 years.
Anne Kruger, Gamble’s inspired student, captured the core of Dan’s humanity, in her nomination letter to the International Olympic Committee –
“The most striking thing about Dan is his everyday caring and decency. He always seems to go the extra mile with a thoughtful gesture. He truly leads by example. His quiet acts of decency, kindness and caring for others are just extraordinary.”
May we all strive to be so ‘consistent.’