Mr. Pettibone: Beloved Physics Teacher and Dedicated Marathoner


photo courtesy of REVEL

Mr. Ryan “Dash” Pettibone is pictured running the Nov. 9 Revel Big Bear Marathon. His time was 2:47:40, an average pace of 6:24 per mile, and he placed 14th overall and fourth in his age group.

Many students know Ryan Pettibone as a physics teacher on campus, but outside of the classroom he is an avid runner. Pettibone frequently participates in and trains for marathons. On Nov. 9, he competed in the Revel Big Bear Marathon, which takes participants over a scenic route through the San Bernardino National Forest, from Big Bear all the way to Redlands. The marathon starts at an elevation of 6630 feet in Big Bear and ends at 1544 feet, which amounts to a net elevation drop of around 5000 feet. Because of the huge drop in elevation, the marathon is ideal to qualify for the prestigious Boston Marathon and to get a lifetime personal record (PR).

Pettibone had an excellent showing, placing 14th overall and setting a new PR of 2 hours 47 minutes and 40 seconds. But his achievements at the marathon did not come easy. He followed a strict training regimen that started more than three months before the gun went off at Big Bear.

“I followed a training plan that tells me how many miles I should run each week,” Pettibone said. “There are also workouts which specify how many miles to run at a certain pace so you can build up speed. Up to the marathon, I hadn’t skipped a day of running for two months.”

Pettibone’s enthusiasm for running began back in 2013. He was introduced to the activity by students in his physics classes who were in cross-country.

“They were talking about it all the time,” Pettibone said. “That got me interested in possibly trying it out myself.”

This sparked a new passion for Pettibone, and he has since grown as an athlete. One of the ways he improves his time is setting goals. This year, Pettibone gave himself the difficult challenge of running 3000 miles by the end of the calendar year.

To meet his goals, Pettibone runs in local marathons around the state. In March of 2019, Pettibone also competed in the LA marathon, where he finished 128th out of 20,216 runners. He also got a fast enough time to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In addition, part of the allure of marathoning is traveling to new places and having valuable experiences.

“I’ve done marathons in Seattle and San Diego,” Pettibone said. “Unfortunately, the marathons that are in really cool locations are kind of expensive. So at some point in my life I will do those but mostly it’s just West Coast marathons that I have done.”

While not competing, Pettibone can be found running locally in the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park and in the Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park. Every athlete has a driving force behind their exercise, and Pettibone is no different. His motivation for keeping himself fit is to consume more food.

“The main thing I like [about being a runner] is eating,” said Pettibone. “I run enough so that I can eat pretty much anything I want to. I like the mental and physical health benefits too. It’s kind of like my therapy. It gives me something to focus on, and it turns down the volume on anything that is stressful in my life.”

For Pettibone, the recent Big Bear Marathon is another step towards improving as an athlete. His hobby has garnered the support of his students, some of whom even tracked his progress in the recent marathon by signing up for text notifications of Pettibone’s progress. As Pettibone nears the final stretch of his 3000 mile goal, the students of CHS are cheering him on until the end.