Doug Dunham on Fitness, Age, and Perseverance
By: Sasha Miller, RSOP
Published on: November 13th, 2013
“On the average, I’d say about an hour or more a day,” replies Doug Dunham, a computer science professor here at UMD, an active RSOP supporter, and a full-time fitness advocate. “I just try to be active every single day.” In his mid-seventies, going on thirty-seven years of teaching at UMD, he’s still kicking with over one hundred event shirts earned.
Originally from Southern California, Doug wasn’t as active there, but he participated in swimming, weight lifting, and occasional running. Only when he attended graduate school in Berkeley did he start becoming the active man that he is today. With a group of his fellow graduate students, he decided to run the eight-mile San Francisco race, Bay to Breakers. “It was the longest I ran at that point,” states Doug, “and it started my running career.”
When he started teaching at UMD, and as his passion for running grew, Doug took advantage of the RSOP right away. “Essentially, when I first arrived at the University, a friend of mine pulled me over to the gym to get our lockers, right off the bat. We didn’t wait. Got a locker, got active.”
Doug then ran in the second annual Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth with a fewer than one thousand runners. He was well before the curve of the modern running craze. This past June, to Doug’s amazement, there were well over 17,000 people who ran the marathon. Since then, Doug has participated in over one hundred events, as well as regularly attending the RSOP for daily exercise.
When at the gym, Doug uses the aerobics machines, the octane machine, the wave machine, and the stationary bikes. Almost forty years ago, when he first arrived to UMD, Doug claims that there weren’t many exercise machines to choose from and that the spectrum of activities available was limited. Now in 2013, Doug says that the amount of activities to become involved with are incredible, including the swimming pool, the multiple gymnasiums, and a handful of exercise areas and equipment.
If he’s in town and not in the gym, Doug says that you can find him at any of the running events that the RSOP puts on, including the 5ks in the fall and spring. “I think no one would disagree that being physically active makes you feel better, in your body as well as in your mind,” states Doug.
Doug’s goal with running is not only to remain a healthy being, but to inspire others to be healthy as well. “Do anything that interests you that is physical,” Doug gives as advice to UMD students. “Don’t do what you don’t like to do. Pick things, try new things, and find something that you like that ultimately makes you move.”