Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive the latest news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, sports, opinion, community and more!

5 minutes with Gary O'Daniels, track starter/official

AGE: 74

HOMETOWN: I’m originally from Missouri Valley, but Creston is my hometown now since we’ve been here for 30-plus years.

FAMILY: Wife, Phyllis; daughter, Emily; son Sean; and three grandchildren.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A STARTER? I started here in Creston in the early ‘90s. I was officiating in Nebraska quite awhile before that. Altogether it’s been longer than I care to think about.

WHAT GOT YOU STARTED OFFICIATING TRACK MEETS? I’ve been part of track since I’ve been in high school. I ran collegiately and afterward and just wanted to get into track officiating.


FAVORITE PART OF BEING A STARTER: Just seeing all of the kids running and the progress they make from year to year. And then those who go on and run collegiately, I like to follow them and the progress they make.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MEET YOU’VE BEEN AN OFFICIAL AT? I’ve done the USATF outdoor nationals. I was the head race walk official when Drake hosted that in 2013. Drake Relays is probably the biggest, high-caliber meet. And then the state high school meet. They have the biggest attendance of any high school state meet in those three days.


FAVORITE BOOK: Authors would be John Grisham, I read a lot of James Patterson and Clive Cussler.

ONE PLACE YOU’VE NEVER VISITED BUT ALWAYS WANTED TO: Eugene, Oregon, at Hayward Field. It’s on my bucket list to go out and officiate a meet there, but I don’t know if I’ll make it or not.

HOBBIES: I like to cycle and do some hiking outside. I work on diamond willow walking sticks, debarking and finishing them and giving them away to friends, and some outdoor photography.

WHAT WAS YOUR TIME IN THE SERVICE LIKE? It was memorable. I got drafted (into the Army) after I had taught school for four years. It was really a disruption to my life. It was a lot different than what I was accustomed to. I survived.

TRACK BACKGROUND: In high school, I ran the 880 and the mile. In college, I did the same thing. my goal was to beat my father’s time in the 880, which he always told me was 1:57. I did that; I ran 1:56 my junior and senior year. I’ve run a dozen marathons.

Loading more