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45-Year-Old Man Who Had Lost Over 100 Lbs Collapses During Run with Students

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Ancient Christians — indeed, people of almost every faith — have an old practice of musing over one’s mortality.

As early as the second century, the theologian Tertullian urged his audience to practice memento mori, a Latin phrase meaning “remember that you will die.”

That sounds pretty grim, but in addition to encapsulating a sobering truth, it also is a call to live a virtuous life.

And that’s exactly what one Schererville, Indiana, middle-school teacher named Dan Runyan had done.

Runyan, 45, once could’ve served as a poster child for overindulgence. Four years prior, he had ballooned to 340 pounds and was almost diabetic.

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That was when the science teacher at Grimmer Middle School decided a change was in order. Runyan decided to start eating more healthily and to take up a new sport: running.

He pursued the activity with gusto, participating in numerous 5K races and endurance-style events — and losing over 100 pounds in the process. In 2017, he even managed to run 1,000 miles.

What’s more, he was planning to run the 2018 Chicago Marathon for Autism, an event which held special significance for him.

“Both my neice and nephew are on the autism spectrum,” he wrote on his Crowdrise page soliciting funds for the run.

“In addition, I have been a middle science teacher for 17 years. I have taught many students with autism.”

So when Runyan decided to lead his school’s running club on Jan. 31, neither he nor anyone else probably thought anything about it.

But that run would end in tragedy.



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While running with his students, Runyan collapsed, felled by cardiac arrest. A fellow teacher stayed with him until paramedics arrived, yet he would die in the hospital two days later.

After his passing, WLS reported that his family feels “that emulating his character is their way to move forward.”

It’s a sentiment shared by the larger Schererville community.

Grimmer Principal John Alessia told The Times of Northwest Indiana that “It was a devastating day [when we made the announcement]. … You don’t measure the impact until something like this happens, how much he meant to everyone here.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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