South Carolina runner embarks on ambitious XTERRA run

Dr. Dave Hale plans to enter more than 30 races during 2013-14 season

Posted 12/9/2013

I was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer in 2004 and was told by doctors that I would be lucky to make it through my three months of treatments, and if I did, I then would only have a two percent chance of living past the next year. Yet here I am, nine years later, and I am living the dream by embarking on an ambitious plan through the XTERRA National Trail Run Series.

The series started its 2013-14 season in September, and in my typical over-achiever ways, I have already completed nine races: four in the XTERRA Alabama series, four in the Georgia series, and one in the Florida series. The full schedule I have set for myself even had me running in two races in two different states in one weekend — Georgia on Saturday, then Florida on Sunday. As my friends at the XTERRA headquarters in Hawaii have told me, that would be a full season for most runners. But, as I told them, I am just getting started.

Regional Champion

The schedule I planned has me running in more than 30 races during the season. In addition to races in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, I am also looking to enter XTERRA races in Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia. If all goes well, I would like to end the journey at the 2014 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Hawaii.


I started racing in XTERRA Trail Run events this year, and love the racing atmosphere more so than on the roads. After seeing how many XTERRA races are actually within a six- to-seven-hour drive from where I live in Columbia, S.C., I wondered if anyone had competed in many races other than in their local state or region. When I found out there was no known record for the most XTERRA trail races run in a season, I thought, why not make one myself?

To make my travelling logistics a bit easier, my wife Dawn and I purchased a recreational vehicle to drive to some of the farther races on the tour. Already we have logged more than 5000 miles through the first nine races. Dawn has been accompanying me to some of the races, and she often serves as a volunteer at each event. Not only am I having a great time in the races, but we and our dogs make it a family weekend excursion.

My saving grace is owning a running store in Columbia, the Velocity Distance Project, so I am able to take time off for the races while my employees take care of the shop. The shop also provides me the opportunity to ask my vendors for sponsorship merchandise to help me during my efforts. I believe it is through my training and the products I am using that I am able to keep injuries away; that is, other than my usual two or three falls during races that results in gashes, bruises and sprained pinky fingers.

Dave with RecoFit

Probably my favorite and most reliable product that keeps me going are my RecoFit full-leg compression sleeves. Anyone who has run in a tough race, then driven four-to-six-hours home, more than likely has had their legs cramp on the way. I cannot remember how many times I have had to pull over on the side of the highway, while driving home from a race, with my legs cramping so much I would be in tears. Now my secret weapon is my RecoFiT recovery leg sleeves. Before getting in the car after a race, I put them on and have never had my legs cramp since.

I am by no means the fastest runner on the trails, but my “XTERRA Living The Dream Tour” is more about fun, participation and adventure, rather than winning medals. My first goal is always to survive my race (I say while laughing!). But, I also want to pass along the message to my madness — No matter what the odds are, or how tough of a situation a person may be going through, as long as they are willing to push themselves, they can achieve anything they want.

About the Blogger:

CaptureDave Hale, PhD, is the owner of Velocity Distance Project Multisport Company in Columbia, SC. He is the 2013 XTERRA South Carolina Trail Race Series Champion and selected as a member of the 2014 Team  XTERRA.  Dave has been running on the roads and trails for over 30 years, and uses his racing to show other cancer survivors what Living the Dream is all about.