Photo by Jeff Vorva
Oak Lawn’s Dave Janet, also known as Walter White, is back to winning races after back surgeries in 2013 and 2014.
Walter White has returned.
No, there isn’t a “Breaking Bad II” television show where the cult hero rises from the dead to cook more meth.
This Walter White has a real name of Dave Janet.
Janet is an Oak Lawn native who, as a joke, entered his name as Walter White in the 2013 Tinley Park Stars and Stripes 5K Run and finished second to his North Central College track teammate, Mitch Gilbert in the race.
Janet smiled when Walter White’s name was called during the award ceremony and anyone calling up that race on onlineraceresults.com will see that Walter White finished second with a time of 15 minutes, 41 seconds.
What has happened to Walter White, er, Dave Janet since then is not so funny.
The Brother Rice graduate had back surgery to repair a herniated disc the following December and in June had a laminectomy performed. His senior track season at North Central was wiped out and his summer was spent recovering from the pain after being treated by MetroSouth Medical Center Orthopaedic Surgeon William Payne.
On Oct. 18, Janet returned to running and since his return, he has won four out of five races he entered including Sunday’s 8K Running O’ the Green in Tinley Park. He clocked in at 26.15 to beat out Gilbert, who finished with a 26.43.
After graduating from North Central in Naperville, Janet, 23, is now in the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville dental school program and he has entered races in the southern part of the state. His next race will be the Alton Half Marathon on March 21.
“It’s a good way to get my mind off of dental school,” he said. “Once you are a runner, you do what you love. ‘’
Last summer, Gilbert won the Stars and Stripes event and wore a Brother Rice shirt during that race in his friend’s honor. For Sunday’s race, Gilbert wasn’t expecting to battle his pal.
“I haven’t seen Dave since last summer when we got to hang out,” Gilbert said. “He told me he wasn’t doing this race and out of the blue, I see him here. It was a great surprise and great to see someone who had so many low points come back and to do what he loves.’’
Other area standouts in the race were Chicago Ridge’s Kristyn Rein (first in the 25-29 age group), Palos Hills’ Dariusz Lisowski (second in the men’s 35-39), Oak Lawn’s Brian Tornga (third in the men’s 25-29), Oak Lawn’s Steven Gelsomid (third in the men’s 60-64).
By the way, the Walter White persona has not yet died for Janet.
“I still receive mail for the Tinley Park races addressed to ‘Walter White,’ ’’ Janet said. “It’s pretty funny to see that.’’