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A physical three years ago convinced Dan DeRoner '71 he had to change his habits: he was overweight, had high blood pressure and had developed type two diabetes. A self-proclaimed “couch potato,” DeRoner knew he had to modify his lifestyle. So he joined a gym, started exercising, and lost 70 pounds. But gradually the weight crept back on.

“I had gained a third to half the weight back,” says DeRoner, who graduated with a degree in metallurgical engineering. He is now a marketing and business development manager for Allvac, a specialty metals company in Monroe, N.C. that is part of Allegheny Technologies.

“I knew I needed to do something, so I decided to practice for a 5K race in Charlotte last September (2000),” he says. “I hadn't run in 20 years. I had three goals: to finish the race without walking, not to hurt myself, and not to be last. I finished close to the end, but I wasn't last!”

Having met his goals, when the American Diabetes Association (ADA) invited him in April to train for a fall marathon to help raise money for diabetes research, DeRoner started thinking about it. After his doctor finally gave the OK in June, DeRoner began training.

“We ran every Saturday morning as a group, and three days a week on our own,” he says. The ADA provided a professional coach. DeRoner started out with six-mile runs on Saturdays in June, building up to 20 miles in September.

“I'm firmly convinced the human body is not supposed to run marathons,” he says. “It's brutal on the body.”

He now has his diabetes under control and is 80 pounds lighter than when he was diagnosed, losing all the weight he had gained back plus 10 additional pounds.

DeRoner leaves Oct. 26 for Dublin, running the marathon on Monday, Oct. 29, a bank holiday in Ireland. He is now tapering down his running to prepare for the race. He plans to continue running after this marathon, but will concentrate on shorter races, such as 5K. A future marathon is not totally out of the question, possibly Rome 2003, which the ADA TEAM Diabetes also uses as a fundraiser.

A local newspaper ran a story about DeRoner's efforts to train for the marathon and raise money for the ADA. He has raised about $13,000 for the ADA by asking for contributions from family, friends, coworkers and total strangers who read about his effort. Other diabetes sufferers have called him for support in their own struggles with the disease. “It's been incredible the way total strangers have supported me,” he said. “It's really touched me and it's something I won't forget.”

Alumni who would like to support DeRoner can send a check payable to the ADA to Dan DeRoner, 2007 Forrest Hills Lane, Monroe, N.C. 28112. Email messages can be sent to him at

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles