Dan’s Story

There is a common expression that people get “the bug” after completing a marathon. The emotional gratification, euphoria, and sense of affinity with the running community after crossing the finish line are what keep people coming back to 26.2. For Dan Meninger, his “bug” has endured the test of time. He’ll line up for the Boston Marathon with Spaulding’s Race for Rehab Team this April for the 10th year in a row.

Dan joined Spaulding Rehabilitation in 2001 as an inpatient physical therapist (PT). During his years at Spaulding, he has held a multitude of roles and rose through the ranks–working his way up to becoming a Senior PT, PT Practice Leader, Program Director, and now Program Manager. His frontline experience has given him a deep reverence for Spaulding’s mission. He has seen the institution navigate critical times like the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and the height of the Covid 19 pandemic, when he was tapped to manage virtual care services across the network in a changing healthcare landscape. Dan says his work has helped him to “see where the needs are,” and he views his Boston Marathon fundraising efforts as a way to pay it forward and play another role in supporting Spaulding.

When reflecting on his most memorable marathon moments, Dan keeps going back to his first race. Training in New England during the winter months for the April marathon can bring challenges to runners that go beyond the weekly mileage. In Dan’s first training cycle during the winter of 2015, the Boston area faced record-setting snow accumulation that left mountains of snow piled along the roads and made running a treacherous task. Having no interest in the treadmill, Dan had to adjust his training and find ways to power through the elements.

Despite the hurdles, the moment of crossing the finish line makes the training all worth it for Dan. “I still get goosebumps thinking about taking the right on Hereford and left on Boylston,” he says. “Experiencing that emotional thrill puts 18 weeks of training into perspective.” That thrill became a catalyst for his decade-long commitment to the marathon.

The emotional impact of the race is something Dan has not only experienced individually but also shared with his Race for Rehab teammates and his sister, Courtney. “Running with my sister was a special experience,” says Dan. “It gave her the opportunity to witness the support I received from Spaulding and the community that I’ve been a part of with Race for Rehab.”

Dan has been a fixture of the Race for Rehab Team and has witnessed its evolution over the years, with growing numbers of Team members who come from all walks of life. While no two years have felt the same for him, what has been consistent is the support he’s received from Spaulding. “Spaulding does well by the runners with training, nutrition, stretching, and race day information,” says Dan. “The Marathon Monday at the Mandarin event has given me the opportunity to celebrate each passing race with my family.”

As Dan looks ahead to his 10th marathon, he’s decided it will be his last–for now. When he began this journey, he never planned on completing 10, and he admits, “People have called me crazy.” About this year’s race, he adds, “I anticipate an emotional day; I’m excited to ride the coattails of the big accomplishment and celebrate everything that’s gone into 10.” On top of all the miles run and the finish lines crossed, Dan has personally contributed and raised more than $70,000 in support of Spaulding’s patients and programs. As he closes this marathon chapter, he will walk away as a champion on the road and a champion for Spaulding.