Name: Danny Docherty
Hometown: Saint Paul, MN
High School: Cretin-Derham Hall High School
College/University: Loyola University Chicago
Training City: Minneapolis, MN
Accolades: Twin Cities Marathon 3rd Overall
How were you introduced to track/distance running, and what eventually led you to your event?
My first true track experience came as a sophomore in high school. I started as a miler and ran 5:00 in my first indoor mile. I worked my way down to 4:33 over the next few races and I was ecstatic to see such a quick improvement. When the time came to decide upon what to do to try to get to the State Meet, I opted to try the 2 mile as my section was full of great milers, with the likes of future Olympian Ben Blankenship and other future All-Americans. Blankenship was still in the 2 Mile, but the second spot was more wide open. I attempted by first 2 Mile about 2 weeks before the race and ran a 10:03. In the section 2 Mile race, I sat back in 3rd place until about 2 laps to go and then went for it and was able to qualify for State. It was an awesome moment and definitely propelled me forward in the sport.
What is your most memorable experience in the sport?
That’s a tough question as each experience builds upon each other, so it’s hard to isolate only one. But since I need an answer, I have to say running my debut track 10k at Stanford was extremely memorable. It was about 11pm at night, racing under the lights, and I started out in last place going through the mile in about 4:55. I slowly moved up and then at one point, someone pushed me subtly in the back, and it just propelled me forward to get in the lead. I ended up leading the next 10 laps or so, clicking off 70s, until about 2k to go. The race started to really move and at one point my coach is yelling at me to take the lead again. I thought I wasn’t ready to at the time as there was about 1k to go, so I tried to maintain. I remember I closed hard and ran about 9:00 for the last 2mi and 14:28 for the last 5k to finish 6th in 29:16. It was a huge day for me and validated so much of the hard work, training, and commitment to being a student-athlete in college. And it meant quite a bit as my two great friends from the team, Ben and Josh were in the race as well. They didn’t have huge days, but I know we all helped each other have huge days at one point or another in college and this just happened to be my day.
What race are you most looking forward to in 2020 (not including the Olympic Trials / Olympics)?
I don’t have it all planned out quite yet, but I have my eye on the Grandma’s Marathon as it is one of those all-time great road races. So God-willing, I will be running that race in June 2020 and running it well.
What is something not track/running related that are you looking forward to in the next year?
Another tough question, I honestly do not have any huge plans for the year yet but I know something big will eventually happen. I foresee a good road trip or camping trip. I hiked about 40 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail in 2019 and I’d like to keep that going and hike a new section, so that is something that’s certainly on my mind.
What do you like to do when you’re not training?
I’m a big fan of exploring a city, learning something new at a history museum, or checking out a new part of nature. There’s nothing better than getting out the door and feeling the thrill of an adventure. It’s that feeling when you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen next, but there’s momentum and energy in the moment that just keeps you going and searching for what you need at the time. I also do the Netflix thing from time to time, watch a good sporting event, and hang with family and friends. I’ve been playing some games like ping-pong or indoor bocce ball lately as it can be tougher to enjoy the outdoors in MN when the temps are so low.
You are active in your community with youth sports by coaching track and field, basketball, and soccer. What is your motivation to maintain these connections and how has it helped develop you into the professional you are today?
When I started coaching, I really didn’t know much. But as I experienced the role and learned more, I just saw infinite possibilities with sport and community. Being on a team has always been a big part of my life and coaching helps me to give that experience back to others. There’s something special about starting a new season, forming a bond as a group, and going through the ups and downs of a season that will never get old to me, and also forms memories and relationships that will last. My motivation to continue coaching is maintain the thrill of competition in my life, and to help facilitate the experience for others to grow and develop through sport and performance. My experiences as a coach have certainly helped develop me as a professional. There’s quite a bit more to sport than just practice and games, and gaining that perspective as a coach, has helped me to coach myself at times, and enabled me to live a fuller life as well. As a coach, I’m always able to see where there is room for improvement, and I think I am able to apply that coach perspective to many areas of my life and hopefully help others to see it in theirs as well.
What advice would you give to your high school freshman self?
Talk more in class discussion and engage with my teachers more. I was pretty shy. So I tended to stay quiet. It formed who I am today as I tend to be patient and listen before speaking still. But I may have left some good ideas on the table, and I think it’s always best to share when something comes to mind. I also think you are able to gain a fuller perspective when everyone in a group is open and sharing their thoughts and feelings. It’s hard to get to that point, but it is gold when you do. I also wish I would have engaged with my teachers a bit more to explore certain ideas or projects I was working on. I think I see education in a similar way to how I see sports, you need a mentor, coach and community pushing you to get the most out of yourself. I’m not sure I always did that in the classroom. So it’s certainly something I would like to hear as a freshman. Push yourself to be the best you can be. Whether it’s in the class or on the field, that little bit of extra effort is going to take you places.
Favorite sport, not track? Soccer
Favorite pro sports team? Minnesota United FC
Favorite training shoe? Nike Pegasus
After competition indulgence? Burger and shake
Best movie you’ve seen in the past year? Marriage Story
Favorite TV show? Better Call Saul
Celebrity or Historic Figure you would most like to meet? Pete Maravich
Who is your track and field idol? Dick Beardsley
Give a shoutout to your supporters
Thank you for the support. I’m telling you, it helps me GO. There’s so much time spent alone when pursuing the sport, so it’s special to feel the support from the community and know that what I’m doing may be making a difference in some way.
Connect with Danny