Marathon Challenge



Daniel Williams 38
College Counselor

Summer 2006 Profile

Daniel is openly gay and has been living with HIV for 13 years. By taking on the NOVA challenge and hopefully doing well in the Boston Marathon, he aims to publicize the fact that people with the virus can nonetheless be fit and healthy. Daniel used to work out occasionally but has found it hard to squeeze regular exercise into his schedule in the last few years. He recently graduated with a degree in social work and now serves as an academic advisor to college students.

Daniel's Race Results & Update

Official Time/Pace
4hrs. 31min./10:22 minutes per mile

Are you still running, four months later?
I am sorry to say that I haven't been running as much as I would like. Halfway through the marathon training, I was hired full-time at the Center for Academic Advising at Salem State College. I absolutely love my job, but it has been rather busy since last spring, and I have been devoting more of my time to my new career.

I miss running as often as I used to while in training, and I especially miss running with Team NOVA. Being part of a team was such a HUGE motivator for me.

Stress seemed to have little effect on me when I was running regularly, and I am eager to get back into the swing of things. I recently made a commitment to embark upon a new strength-training regimen, and I plan to add a significant amount of running to my routine. I realize that it is important to make time for running because the benefits are so great!

What else has stayed with you?
I have learned the importance of team spirit as a motivator for me. As I get ready to start a new strength-training regimen, I am asking around for others to join me. When left to my own devices...

I have also learned a great deal about my body and how quickly it can adapt when I am patient and allow myself to follow a well-mapped-out training routine. After living with HIV for over 14 years, I was in awe as I witnessed what I could accomplish by committing physically, psychologically, and emotionally to an athletic challenge as magnificent as the marathon.

What it all meant
Training for and running in the 2007 Boston Marathon meant so much to me.

It was a personal challenge to see how far my body could take me. Living with HIV and dealing with unpleasantries such as diarrhea on a daily basis had me questioning, in the beginning, whether I would be able to complete the training and later the marathon itself. I was VERY pleased with the end result.

In addition to the personal challenge, being a part of Team NOVA meant that I was afforded the opportunity to share my experience with millions of viewers on PBS. To be able to share this experience and show others living with HIV that quests like this are possible was a privilege.

I can never adequately express my gratitude to the NOVA documentary folks for helping me to realize a longtime dream of running in the Boston Marathon. They were not only there working behind the scenes but also out there pounding the pavement with us—some are even experienced marathoners who were more than willing to share their experiences and offer advice.

I am especially grateful to Don Megerle and Uta Pippig for their amazing coaching efforts. Can you imagine what it is like to be riding along in your car with your boyfriend when the phone rings and it is Uta calling to check in?! And Don was there for me like a parent is there for a child whenever I experienced any physical challenges. I once had an issue with a corneal abrasion that caused me to miss training one Sunday. Don stayed up late—well past his bedtime—to keep close tabs on my progress and make sure I was diagnosed and treated properly. He was so much more than a coach—he was a caring friend.

Thank you, Don & Uta!

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