November Newsletter 2023

Just Don’t Call it ‘Jogging’

A Visit with Dennis Swaney

By Dale Dauten

The first thing Activities Director Susan York told me about Dennis Swaney was that, at nearly 85, he was training to run the Tokyo Marathon. She added, “I hope you get a picture of him in action.” So, when I was about to sit down with Dennis Swaney and heard he’d just come off one of The Resort’s treadmills, I said, “Maybe we should start with some photos — while you’re still loose. Maybe some jogging around the park?”


He shook his head sadly and said, “We don’t use the j-word.” It took me a beat to realize he meant “jogging,” and then Dennis laughed at my dawning realization. Dennis, I quickly understood, takes running seriously, but not himself.

And Dennis’ running is serious. He’s done 44 marathons and when he runs in Tokyo this coming March, he’ll complete the World Marathon Majors, the six most significant races in the world: Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Berlin, and Tokyo. Further, in 1996, he ran in the 100th running of the Boston Marathon and that same year traveled to Greece to run in the 100-year anniversary of the first marathon in Athens.


(Photo: Dennis finishing the Falmouth Road Race in Massachusetts)

This raises questions, starting with the big one: Why?

“I started running when I turned 40 years old,” Dennis explained. “I weighed 175 pounds and I saw all the 40-somethings having heart attacks.” Given that 175 doesn’t seem like a hefty number, it raised another question, one you wouldn’t normally ask someone you’d just met: his weight now. “I’m at 134 — that’s my marathon weight,” he answered. And, as for seeing those 40-somethings dropping over, Dennis had a good vantage point for observing health: he spent most of his career, over 40 years, as a pharmacist.


Dennis recalled for us his best running days, saying, “The ‘runner’s high’ is real, like nothing on Earth. When I was in my fifties, I would run hills and felt like I could go on and on, just keep going forever.” In those days, he was living fulltime in South Dakota and recalled how the weather rarely kept him inside: “I’d run all winter. There would be four feet of snow – didn’t matter — I’d put on a mask and go, as long as it wasn’t much below zero.” It wasn’t till in his sixties that Dennis started doing part of his training on a treadmill, and today that’s mostly where he gets in his training.


Nevertheless, he keeps up a schedule of road races. They not only give him trips to look forward to, but people to look forward to visiting with and/or running with. His son, David, will accompany him on the trip to the Tokyo Marathon and, in the photo below, that’s Dennis with daughter Lynette Simpson, running together in the local Rock & Roll Marathon. (Lynette and her husband, Ed, also live at The Resort, and yes, Ed, too joins Dennis on runs.)

Photo below: Dennis with another runner-relative, his great niece Anneka.


Let’s back up a minute and fill in a bit about Dennis’ life when not running…


Growing up on a family farm near Bonilla, South Dakota, Dennis was eager to see more of the world — he signed up for the Air Force two days after turning seventeen. It was a two-year enlistment and he remembers those days as “mostly sitting around and waiting for the time to go home.” But it gave him time to meet Barbara, and the two married when he was nineteen. (He and Barb recently celebrated their 65th anniversary.) And he learned to fly during those two years, not as an Air Force pilot, but piloting Piper Cubs. He eventually earned multiple certifications and even helped pay his way through school by teaching flying lessons.


As for school, he studied pharmacy at South Dakota State and went on to a 40+ year career at Boyd’s Pharmacy in Rapid City, where he was, and still is, a partner. Barb and Dennis have three children – the above-mentioned Lynette, living at The Resort, and son David in Deadwood and Judi in the Rapid City area.


As for coming to The Resort, Dennis and Barb came to visit Dennis’ brother, Eugene, who was living in the park. They toured multiple options, but The Resort won them over, and in ’09, they bought their home. They still split their year, spending summers back in South Dakota.


(Photos: Two views of Barb and Dennis, featuring two kinds of glasses)

Running the Boston Fennel? The story of the marathon


Although never part of the ancient Olympic Games, the marathon does have ancient Greek origins. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, when the Athenians learned that the Persians had landed at Marathon on the way to attack Athens in 490 BC, a messenger named Pheidippides ran to Sparta with a request for help. This original ‘marathon runner’ covered 260 kilometers of rugged terrain in less than two days! The Persians were subsequently defeated at the Battle of Marathon. The word marathon is the Greek word for fennel, which seems to have grown in the area and gave the battlefield its name.

What’s new in The Resort Massage Office:

A Message from Tara


A new therapist has joined Cynthia and Tara for the season and will be adding some much-needed afternoon availability: Marissa on Mondays and Fridays from 1pm-4:30pm, and Cynthia Monday-Thursday from 8:15am-2:15pm.


Tara is currently full for the season but Cynthia and Marissa are ready to help! (Also please note the change in rates when booking your massage – prices have increased between $5-10 depending on the session and therapist.)

Marissa has over a decade of massage experience, receiving her first Massage and Reiki 1 certification in California in 2011. She worked in the spa industry before running her own private practice and gaining a mentorship in sports therapy. Combined with a career in the healthcare industry since 2007, she served as a formal licensed administrative director and counselor at an adult residential care facility. Two years ago, Marissa moved to Arizona to care for her disabled parent and became an Arizona Licensed Massage Therapist. Marissa remains diligent in expanding her knowledge, attending school for nursing and psychology degrees. When Marissa is not working and studying, her free time is spent taking day trips with her mom, spending time with her dog, learning new cooking recipes, playing music, exercising, taking dance class, teaching step aerobics, and taking time for daily meditation.

Tiffany’s passion for massage started at a young age, when she would give impromptu massages to family members. Her journey to finally pursue massage and bodywork happened at 19 while working at a company that offered free 15 minute massages weekly for the staff. This renewed her interest and passion for massage therapy and she was enrolled in school a few months later. Fast forward to 2023 — she has been a licensed Arizona State therapist for 18 years! Her massage style is best described as a blend of medium to deep tissue/pressure massage, very flowing and relaxing, but also incorporating trigger point work, myofascial techniques, and some gentle stretching.


You can book with any therapist by calling (602) 309-2482 or visiting We look forward to seeing you all!