Life in the Fast Lane
New York Marathon vet Kolber rediscovers running at 50

By Doug Gorman


Daniel Kolber can best be described as a lawyer, entrepreneur, family man and athlete.

Saturday morning Kolber, 56, will show off the athletic side of his life when he heads to Midtown in Atlanta to compete in the famous 10-K Peachtree Road Race.

Running the Peachtree has been a July Fourth tradition for the Clayton County resident the past six years, but his first flirtation with running came in 1979 when he competed in the New York City Marathon.

During those days, Kolber, a resident of the Big Apple at the time, would run around the New York City Reservoir where he would often see another jogger, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

She of course, was flanked by security guards.

"I would pass her and I would always say good morning," Kolber said. "She would never answer, she would just smile."

Kolber's first chapter as a competitive runner was short lived as he was disappointed with his performance in the NYC Marathon and stopped competing for nearly three decades.

"In those days they didn't have the training like they do now. I hit the proverbial wall around mile 25. I was at about 3 hours and 30 minutes, and doing well. I finished in 4 hours and 11 minutes, but for me, that was disappointing. So I didn't run again for several years," Kolber said

Kolber, who grew up in Miami, went to college at Boston University before heading to law school at the University of Virginia, where he met his wife Lesley.

In 1984, Kolber moved his family to Atlanta to help his former law school buddy Michael Hollis start the short lived Air Atlanta.

When the airline went out of business, Kolber started a brokerage and securities endeavor with former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson.

All along the way, Kolber and Lesley were busy raising three children. Lee, who also went to law school at Virginia, is a successful real estate broker now, Sarah, a former standout soccer player at Jonesboro, graduated from Georgia, and younger brother Mark, is a student at Griffin Tech.

Kolber has lived in the same Clayton County neighborhood since settling in Georgia back in the 1980s.

"We have been through our ups and downs, but we have great neighbors, and we love it there," he said.

Kolber eventually sold his interest in the securities business to Jackson and started an on-line brokerage business before deciding to return to practicing cooperate law in 2001 with Baker and Donelson.

Their offices are located on Peachtree Street, right near the start of the July Fourth race.

He also writes a financial blog that can be found by going to www.intellivestsecurities.com

Kolber busy schedule hasn't stopped him from having balance in his life, including staying fit.

The Clayton County lawyer has rediscovered marathons, triathlons, and of course running 10-K road races like the Peachtree Road Race.

Kolber ran in his first Peachtree Road race in 2005 as a Bandit, a person who is not officially registered in the race, but runs the course anyway.

He has been hooked ever since.

Kolber also showed off his running talents in 2005 in an Atlantic Station 5K race, finishing second in the 50-54-year-old age group.

That race was to benefit cancer research.

Kolber spends several weekends running or competing in everything from marathons, 5Ks and triathlons.

Still, the Peachtree Road Race will always have a special place in his heart.

A year ago after finishing the race, Kolber went to his son's house for brunch and watched the end of the race from a balcony near Piedmont, the heart of the Peachtree Road Race course.

"I saw the scope of this race. Here I had finished the race, and there were still people finishing it. The Atlanta Track Club does a great job with this race," he said. "This is more of an event. Some people run to stay fit. You try and do it with negative splits, meaning you run the second half of the race faster My goal this year is to feel good after Cardiac Hill. You can't go out to fast. It's not a sprint, you have to pace yourself."

Through it all, Kolber's biggest fan and supporter has been Lesley. The ICU nurse at Georgia Baptist Hospital has waged her own battle with M.S., but always keeps a positive outlook.

"As a nurse, she's come across so many people who are worse off than here," he said. She is a real trooper and my biggest supporter

Watching marathons, triathlons and road races, including the Peachtree from the sidelines isn't part of Kolber's plans anytime soon. He plans to be right there, a part of the action.

"I enjoy it. As long as you manage pain and you cross train and run smart there is no reason I can't do it for years to come," he said.