Dr. Shaye: chiropractor who swam 266 miles in James River

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Daniel Shaye (Brandy Centolanza/WYDaily)
Daniel Shaye (Brandy Centolanza/WYDaily)

On any given day, Dr. Daniel Shaye can be found swimming in the James River, even in the dead of winter when the water temperature is a mere 39 degrees. He’s swum 266 miles since taking up the sport last year.

Shaye, a chiropractor with Performance Chiropractic on Jamestown Road, is an avid runner and swimmer, racking up hundreds of awards, plaques, bibs, and medals throughout the years. As a physician, he’s adamant about practicing what he preaches.

But athletics didn’t always come naturally to him. Back in high school at Hampton Roads Academy in Newport News, Shaye focused on academics, then one day decided to try out for the basketball team as a way to meet people. He also joined the track team, and that is when his coach first noticed Shaye’s knack for distance running. By senior year, he was captain of the cross country track team.

Shaye later joined the cross country team at the College of William & Mary, but continuous injuries sidelined him. He turned to his dad, also a chiropractor, for aid with his pain, and was able to heal without the use of medication or going under the knife.

“It worked for me, and I thought it was cool,” says Shaye, who decided to pursue chiropractic care as a career.

Shaye resumed running, training this time on his own, and ran his first half marathon in 1990 with a time of one hour, twelve minutes. Two years later, he signed up as a volunteer working at an orphanage in Kenya that was operated by two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Kipchoge “Kip” Keino.

“I wanted to do something good, so I decided to volunteer,” he says. “I also wanted to be in the land of the greatest distance runners on Earth and soak it all in.”

Shaye later graduated from Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, then returned to the area and opened Performance Chiropractic in 1996. In addition to treating athletes, Shaye assists patients who simply want to walk around the neighborhood or pick up their children without any pain.

“I enjoy helping patients live life to their fullest potential,” he says. “It’s exciting to me.”

Beyond his office, Shaye helps athletes as a USA Track & Field certified running coach, and a running specialist. He provides gait analysis for runners who are injured as well as those that may face potential injury.

Since taking up running, Shaye has clocked in 50,000 miles. He ran his first and only marathon, the Marine Corps marathon in Washington, DC, in three hours and eight minutes in 2014.

Lately, Shaye’s sport of choice has been swimming. He swims daily in the James River and works to promote open water swimming as a member of the Yorktown Triathlon Club.

Although Shaye has competed in five sprint triathlons, he prefers aquathlons, run-swim-run competitions. In July, he participated in his seventh Delphinus Engineering Allen Stone Braveheart Memorial Races, an aquathlon in Virginia Beach. He will conquer his first 5K swim in October in Delaware.

“I just love swimming,” he says. “It’s so much fun. I have such a blast.”

He also enjoys curing what ails his patients.

“I love working with athletes and helping them achieve their goals and dreams,” he says.

Shaye encourages people to get moving whenever they can, whether it’s walking their dog, swimming the length of their pool, or trying a dance class.

When it comes to one’s health, “the biggest gain comes from going from doing nothing to do anything,” Shaye says.

Shaye hopes to expand his chiropractic practice soon, and diversify both his services and his clientele. He hopes to be as healthy and active for as long as possible, and wants to help his patients do the same.

“I want to blow out one hundred birthday candles on my birthday cake,” he says. “And if I can help other people reach that same goal, why not? To live a healthy, rich life and reach a healthy, happy one hundred years old, that’s my goal.”

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