Originally posted October 3, 2005 on Lakes Area Running Club website.
John Jantz ,
John was one of the founders of the Lakes Area Running Club, and contributed to its success by calling many runners each week, inviting them to the weekly fun run. There were times when we had nearly 30 people show up! The beer flowed afterwards, and there are many long-term romances and marriages that resulted.
John, a decorated Vietnam Navy pilot, died Dec. 12, 2001 of multiple cancers. He was a proponent of ultramarathons, long before they were popular. One of his famous escapades was his effort to “run across Wisconsin.” Having a friend drop him in LaCrosse, he attempted to run 50 miles a day, to finish in Racine. He figured Hwy. 11 would be a good route. Unfortunately, in those days, there were not many motels along the way. After running all day, he would discover he’d have to backtrack ten or more miles to find a place to sleep. And running on a shoulderless highway, being blown away by semis, caused him to abort the mission after only three days. Or so the legend goes.
John was also one of the founders of the “S-No-W Fun” Run, and was its director until four years before his death. Even though retired as race director, John still worked the course and made sure we ordered plenty of good beer for the post-race party. Possessing one of the driest wits ever, John was very hard to replace as emcee of the post-race awards and party. He was well-known for his caustic “zingers,” and runners clamored to be the victim of his humorous barbs.