Spotlight on Mike Erlanson and Dr. Dana Ryan, San Diego


This month I had the opportunity to interview two more of our original Race Guards. Mike Erlanson and Dr. Dana Ryan have been with Race Guards since its inception in March of 2012. I was able to catch up with them after their recent participation with the Race Guards team at the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon.

Q. What were some highlights from the 2015 Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon?

A. We had a great time at the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. The Las Vegas race is such a fun event since it closes down the famous Las Vegas Strip for the evening.  The party started before the race with the Kid Rock concert.  It was also great to see the Meb corral, and we were envious of those runners who got to run with Meb.  Further along the course we watched the Run Thru Wedding and saw a lot of couples either getting married or renewing their vows. The race organizers did such a good job of having plenty of support, including water, Gatorade and frequent medical tents along the course that we didn't encounter a large number of runners needing assistance, despite the difficult weather conditions with crazy winds and even some rain.  

Q.  What made you decide to be a Race Guards team member?

A.   We both enjoy running and being able to help people and thought Race Guards was a great way to help and give back. We have both been working in the medical field for over 20 years and felt with our knowledge and experience we would be a great resource for what we’ve seen as a very heavily needed service at races. We often saw runners encounter problems on the course, but they were so far from the next aid station that they ended up pushing themselves over their red line to a point where they were really in bad shape by the time they got first aid support. It is really great to know that not Race Guards are not only solving a problem by providing aid, but also preventing a problem by getting to them sooner.

Q.  What is one of your funniest Race Guards moments?

A.  Trying to run the course at a fast pace, but being passed by casual runners wearing tutus or jester outfits.

    Dr Dana Ryan and Mike Erlanson with fellow Race Guards (L to R)


Dr Dana Ryan and Mike Erlanson with fellow Race Guards (L to R)

Q.  Which Race Guards moment is most likely to bring you to tears?

A.   At a race in Chicago, there was a race participant that was in really in bad shape to the point that he was stumbling, swerving, and having to repeatedly lay on the ground. He was so determined to finish the race that he refused to stop and get into the sag wagon. In the end there were 6 to 8 Race Guards together with him, and we all finished with him. He was the absolute last person to finish the race.

Q.  What is your medical background? How does your career influence your work as Race Guard members?

A.  Dana is a physician who is board certified in Internal Medicine since 2000. She has worked in a community clinic with the underserved for the past 9 years. Prior to that she was a primary care physician with Sharp Mission Park and served on their board of directors.

Mike has been an X-Ray technician since 1996 and currently works in the interventional vascular arena. Previously he also had education in Nuclear Medicine and worked in the areas of CT, OR and Interventional Cardiology and trauma radiography.

Q.  Have you had to overcome any injuries or setbacks in your racing or training?

A.  We have both had issues with knee injuries, plantar fasciitis and a stress fracture. I do have to say though, that the best way we were able to recover from our injuries was to keep our bodies in motion while being aware of our limitations.

Q.  What is your favorite post race pig out food?

A.  Big salads and large diet cokes with Burger King veggie burgers, followed up with Denny’s for dinner.

Q.  How would you sum up your philosophy of life in one sentence?

A.  Dana's:  “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of how things turn out” Mike's : “ Succeeding at something may be unlikely even when you try your hardest, but you are guaranteed to fail if you never try at all.”

Thank you Dana and Mike for sharing some of your Race Guards experiences with us. See you out on the course!

Interviewed by Race Guard Patty Mas

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