It has been 30 years since he ran his first marathon, 15 years since he added trail running, then ultramarathons distances of 31, 50, 60 and 100 miles were added to his physical repertoire. Add to this skate skiing and most recently gravel bike riding, and it is clear that Dan believes in writing his own prescription for good health. He believes in taking control over the things that can be changed in order to reduce the effects of those that cannot. And he believes it starts with finding something that is sustainable and committing to it.
“I would say to believe in yourself and don’t ever say, ‘I can’t!’” Routhieaux says. “If it's intriguing enough to think about, try it. If you fail, either try it again, or at least know you gave it a whirl. There’s going to come a day when all of us can’t do anything. Why not try it while you can and live without regret?”
Routhieaux is a competitor, perhaps not in the typical sense, but he strives to make himself better in all that he does. He shows up adeptly prepared and skillfully trained, exceeding his own personal expectations not only in health and fitness but also in his family and career. He affirms that simply “doing something” can and will promote rich life experiences.
“I am inspired by the underdog,” he says. “So many people in life achieve things no one ever thought they could, including themselves: wheel-chair athletes, Special Olympians, really anyone that rises above what society thinks they can accomplish and does his or her best. Fitness is a choice that involves discipline and hard work. I have a great appreciation for seeing someone who has committed to their health for years.”
In a country where a person can be anything, Jarrett Grosdidier has chosen to be the best kind of person—a humanitarian. An esteemed athlete, an established dentist, and a venerated philanthropist, he has made his life’s labors extend far beyond work.
Grosdidier gives all credit for his rooted values to his large, close knit family. Growing up on a farm in a small Kansas town, he gained a solid work ethic that was etched into his core. He was a standout in athletics and a stellar football player who went on to play at Kansas State. But when asked to continue playing beyond college, he chose dentistry—a profession he had long dreamed of pursuing.
Helping others is ingrained in Grosdidier, who worked in a dental clinic for the Kansas School of the Blind while still in school. It is a service he has continued and eventually took over through his career. Once a month, he and another staff member perform dental screenings, cleanings, procedures, and secure further treatment at very little cost. Beyond this they also work on life skills and areas that will help clients to be successful in life. But this is not where the altruism ends. Last year, he and his family traveled to the Dominican Republic where the Royals had spent years reviving an orphanage. Grosdidier contributed by establishing a dental clinic. These experiences are both rewarding and motivating.
In true modest fashion Grosdidier gives much of his credit to his family, as well as his work partners. Ultimately, he says it comes down to doing the right thing, which is exactly what he gleaned from his family.
I want to be the kind of person that would make my family proud. From my grandparents down to my children, this is what drives my day-to-day decisions.
Running through Wisdom
"I hope they remember that giving your all, in any attempt, is never a bad thing. Give your all, hold your head up, and be proud of what you do." - Glenn Daniels
The Latin word inspirare means to breathe or blow into, much like taking a small flame and releasing a gentle breeze that stimulates growth. Breathing life into something, bringing out the best in it, and transforming this new energy into betterment is exactly what Olathe East’s Cross Country Coach Glenn Daniels is doing with his student athletes. For him, inspirare comes second nature, and inspiring others is a craft that he has perfected.
Daniels is a lifelong sportsman who was humbled at an early age when he came to the realization that, due to his small stature, football was probably not the best fit for him. A coach encouraged him to try cross country and as a high school freshman, he did. He has been running ever since. He is now passing his passion for racing along to young athletes and doing it in such a meaningful way they are left with life lessons that go beyond the road.
"What I tell the boys on the first day of practice is that all I ask from them is 100 percent, but I also won’t accept anything less," explains Daniels. "I want them to always give their best effort, in everything that they do. Cross country, classes, and everyday life. That way when the day is done, they can always hold their heads high knowing they couldn’t have given more."
Daniels is as much an encourager as he is a coach. He teaches his athletes that there is beauty in the struggle, strength in camaraderie, and wisdom in the journey. It is Daniels’ philosophy that cross country can be motivation, not only in a physical sense, but also for a deeper understanding of who each student is and reaching the potential of who each is meant to be. His positive words live with them for years to come.
"The first benefit is learning that hard work and dedication are their own rewards," says Daniels. "Dedicating yourself to improving and dedicating yourself to a team effort are wonderful lessons to learn. The second benefit, unknown to most of them, is they are building a healthy lifestyle."
Glenn Daniels is ardent about coaching which directly translates to the relationship he has with his students. He believes that good coaching can have everlasting effects. Ultimately, his ideology on coaching is:
“You have to believe in yourself and what you are trying to accomplish before you can get the athletes to believe in the program. It is important to remember that coaching is as much art as it is science. Get to know your athletes. You cannot be another coach, no matter how you may try to emulate them. Be yourself, be genuine, be the best you can be.”
His influence is immediately evident when talking to any of his athletes, past and present. Ben Kahnk, a current collegiate athlete for Pittsburg State and former high school athlete of Daniels explains, "Coach Daniels is inspiring and cares about every single athlete on the team. Not only is he trying to make his athletes better in cross country and track, but he coaches them to be better people."