Dave Gontarek

This City employee has made a remarkable achievement. Dave Gontarek has run and completed every Twin Cities Marathon since 1982! When he decided to join his father-in-law in that first marathon, he didn’t expect to make this an annual event for the next 33 years. However, as he explains it, his father-in-law kept going, so he wasn’t going to quit. He is a member of the Twin Cities Marathon Charter Club, a group of 30 individuals who have run and completed every Twin Cities Marathon. (photo: Dave with daughter-in-law Lauren)
Running marathons has become a family affair for the Gontareks. Dave’s wife has run two marathons, his youngest son has run three and his daughter-in-law will join him in the Twin Cities Marathon in 2015. Dave will admit that running a marathon can be hard on the body and maybe not necessarily so good for you – but to live the lifestyle that allows you to finish one per year is good for you.
Dave was not always a runner and admits he’s really not built to be one. He can claim to have been a competitive golfer and cross country ski racer at one time, finishing 49th out of 3000 skiers. To keep in shape the rest of the year, he took up running. He doesn’t run much in the winter at all; he still cross country skies, snowshoes, and walks the City skyways during lunch. He thinks walking is good for runners, too. He believes the healthiest thing to do is exercise for mental and physical well-being.
In talking with Dave, he shared the following tips on exercise and running:

  • You don’t have to run fast – run so you can enjoy it.
  • The first mile is the hardest.
  • Without the back of the pack, there can’t be a front.
  • Set a goal to keep yourself on track and write it down. A Fitbit works great.
  • When running, you may have to walk at times – no embarrassment there.

Dave has worked for the City in PED as a principal project manager since 1977. He has been married for 34 years to his wife, Mary and they have two sons, Andrew and Bryan.