Danval Taylor is truly an inspiration to many. He is originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica and has been living in New York City for the past 25 years, achieving his dream of becoming a chef. Danval found his love for running back in 1999 after having surgery on his shoulder. He was told that for three months, he was not allowed to work out. Right around this time, gyms started equipping their rooms with treadmills for the first time and Danval figured since he could not life weights, why couldn’t he run?
While on the treadmill, 10 minutes of running would into 20, 20 into 30 and so on. He started conversing with others around him and becoming active with other members. At one point, a fellow gym member asked him if he ever ran outside. From that point on, the rest was history. Danval fell in love with running and joined the New York Road Runners Club with great expectations. He is now proud to say that he has completed over 27 Marathons.
Danval has decided to take on a great challenge in his life: he plans to run a Marathon in all 50 states. So far, he has ran in about 15 states and plans on rapidly adding to this number as each year arrives. When he joined The Road Runners Club, he immediately started loving it. His first race was a half marathon, which was one of his best and biggest accomplishments. Back when there was no Internet to research where and when any event was to take place, Danval decided to go to Central Park in order to observe and eventually found out how to sign up. Not really knowing how to train, he bought a book and started his preparation, but mainly learned through his own experiences.
His best Marathon accomplishment was in Chicago in 2011 with a time of 3:02. He ran Philidelphia in 3:07, Washington DC in 3:06, and at 45 years old he ran Hartford, Connecitcut in 3:06. It was not until 2010 that Danval decided that he wanted to run a Marathon in every state. So far he’s ran in Chicago twice, Massachusettes, Virginia, California, Maine, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alaska, New Jersey, Connecticut and even in Jamaica.
It all began when he realized he was not satisfied with running just one Marathon a year. He would run New York and Chicago Marathons every other year and in one year he ran up to 5 Marathons! He thought to himself, instead of vacationing at the same place again and again, why not make things more interesting? That was when he realized he could go run in other states and get the chance to not only see all the scenery, but lifestyle and ways people ate differently. If it weren’t for his love of running, he would have never visited Virginia Beach or seen the amazing scenery in Anchorage and Cincinnati would have never been on his list of places to vacation.
Danval has noticed that no two Marathons are exactly the same. Anywhere. Sure, the bigger cities are closer in arrangements, but smaller towns run a lot differently. However, he was always excited to expect the unexpected and welcome the changes. He knew it would be different; that is what he enjoyed the most.
One of Danval’s favorite parts of Marathons is the dieting. Being a vegan chef, he loves to plan his meals before each Marathon as well as notice all of the different restaurants in the area. On the night before each Marathon, Danval makes it his mission to eat a pasta dish. Whether it’s fusilli with fresh tomatoes and olive oil or spaghetti with a vegetable medley, he loves to continue his tradition. The night before every New York Marathon, he loves inviting friends before to gather and chat over a huge pasta dinner. The only time Danval recalls not having pasta before a Marathon was in Los Angeles- he had to opt for pizza instead.
Danval runs year round- in snow, sun, rain, you name it. He loves participating in local races and runs in at least ten per year. This year, he has run three Marathons already and is scheduled to run two more. He hopes to take on a new state or two every year and will run for as long as his body allows. His attitude and perseverance are truly inspiring- good luck to Danval as he follows his goals!
By: Cari Nogas