Why ‘Dave Rhody Writing’?
For thirty-three years my name has been associated with race management and running. Hoping to earn a new identity, as a writer, I’m not opposed to using my runner identity as a springboard – ‘Dave Rhody of RhodyCo’ to ‘Dave Rhody Writing.’ Allow me to broaden that background. (And click here for my website: Dave Rhody Running to Writing)
Like many of my generation and many more of younger generations, I am a ‘Protean Man’, embracing one identify after another, incorporating each into my sense of self. (Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton originated this concept decades ago.) After training with Al Gore at the Climate Reality Project in 2019 I’ve added climate activist to my resume, committed, as I’ve always been, to embracing the natural world.
Born in South Dakota on the family homestead, I was strongly influenced by my mother’s commitment to Catholicism. When I entered Maryknoll Seminary at age thirteen I envisioned myself as a missionary priest helping the downtrodden in distant lands. Four years later, still drawn to ‘doing good for God’ I embarked on a Theology/Social Work degree at Valparaiso University, a Lutheran liberal arts college in Indiana. One of the scholarships that helped cover my tuition was from a writing contest (sponsored by Pepsi-Cola). I enjoyed writing but direct action with people in need had a stronger pull; I felt fortunate and needed to share it.
Social worker, community organizer, sex educator, youth counselor, drug crisis counselor, nine years and two marriages later, fresh from a Human Sexuality grad program at the University of Hawaii, I landed in San Francisco. Long distance running soon drowned out any remaining passion for counseling. My clients’ crises combined with my self-made challenges chipped away at my soul so that all I wanted to do was feel fulfilled.
Running is a great way to discover San Francisco. Being young and in love puts an even keener edge on it. Visiting me in Hawaii Kathy Henning, who I had left behind in Indiana, shared an epiphany with me while sitting together on the cliffs overlooking Hanauma Bay, Christmas Eve 1980. I had visited San Francisco twice and although she had never been there she agreed that it was good a place as any, better than many, to start a new life together. Thinking I’d take a break from social work, I waited tables at a Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant for a couple years. Kathy, also a social worker, went into retail management.
I ran to work. I ran home. Sometimes both. On my days off I ran to Tiburon, to Mill Valley or up and over Mt. Tamalpais on the Dipsea Trail. I ran to SFO to meet Kathy when her management job starting taking her all over California. I ran eighty miles a week and, feeling invincible, starting experimenting more with multiple runs in one day. Some days I’d finish a lunch shift at SF Houlihan’s, run across the Golden Gate to the Sausalito Houlihan’s, have a couple beers with friends, then run back across the Bridge to our Cole Street apartment. When I realized there were several Houlihan’s Restaurants dotting the California coast, I talked Houlihan’s management into sponsoring me to run from Houlihan’s to Houlihan’s to Houlihan’s, etc. from L.A. (Newport Beach) to San Francisco. A few months after I completed my ‘L.A. to Bay’ run, SF Houlihan’s manager, Linda Bullard, who had been instrumental in backing my 600 mile solo effort, asked if I would return the favor by helping her develop a ‘Houlihan’s to Houlihan’s’ race from SF to Sausalito. Thirty-two years and 490 RhodyCo race productions later, I sit here unable to run anymore (no regrets – human knees are good for about 70,000 miles and I feel I got my money’s worth).
It seems the right time to write. Technically, I’ve never stopped writing – press releases, radio ads, promo copy, a few years as a columnist for the long forgotten City Sports magazine, a few years writing copy for RhodyCo’s TV show, BodySpeed, as well as my journal and my first book, Dakota White, which I self-published in 2007.
I hope to write something worth reading. Please, stay tuned.