Living to run: AF marathon winner finds balance at Academy

  • Published
  • By Don Branum
  • Air Force Academy Public Affairs
If people needed maintenance like cars do, Capt. Brian Dumm's legs would probably be due for a rotation.

The 2012 Air Force Marathon winner ran his first marathon in Houston in 2007, but his running days stretch back even further.

"I ran in high school, both cross-country and track, and I ran cross-country and track here as a cadet," Dumm said.

Dumm, a 2004 Academy graduate, helped lead the Falcons to their first Mountain West Conference title in cross-country during his junior year. After finishing his first marathon in Houston, he signed up to run the Marine Corps Marathon in 2008 as part of the Air Force marathon team.

"I've run the Marine Corps Marathon a number of times," Dumm said.

Dumm, an instructor with the Academy's English Department, credits his leaders for helping him find the best balance between teaching cadets and training for long-distance runs.

"It's always a balance with work and trying to get training in, but fortunately, I've had an incredibly supportive chain of command here," he said. "Col. (Kathleen) Harrington is my boss and department head, and she's been particularly supportive."

Dean of the Faculty Brig. Gen. Dana Born is also a runner, Dumm said.

"She's always interested to hear how it goes and is supportive as well," he added.
Dumm's students support him as well: several congratulated him on the Academy's Facebook page after his win was announced there.

"I ran the marathon this year and bumped into him several times," said Cadet 2nd Class Cody Nelson, who is assigned to Cadet Squadron 18. "He's an outstanding guy and an incredible athlete!"

The environment also helps: The Air Force Academy is situated roughly 7,200 feet above sea level.

"A lot of runners will come to altitude to train anyway, so I just get the tertiary benefit of being stationed in a place that has high altitude," Dumm said. "That's worked out really well. The training environment has been fantastic here: There are so many beautiful places to run ... to be able to run at a place as beautiful as the Air Force Academy grounds is certainly inspiring."

Dumm said he usually runs two marathons per year. The Air Force Marathon, held annually at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is his favorite.

"I think my judgment's been somewhat colored by where the success has come, but I've really enjoyed the Air Force Marathon both times I've run it," he said. "There's really good crowd support on base and in downtown. It's well-supported, and it's nice to run an Air Force event in a location that's so Air Force-proud."

The runner said he sees events like the Air Force Marathon as part of a "proud tradition of amateur athletics."

"The idea that there are people who will go out there to compete, not because there's money in a race but ... out of service to the community or just because they want to get involved," he said. "I think that's one of those aspects of American culture that we could continue to encourage and expand.

"To that end, there are some great competitors I was running with: The Marines brought a team to the Air Force Marathon; they ran a half (marathon) against our Air Force guys," he continued. "It's nice to have that mentality in a race, and the Air Force Marathon certainly seems to embody that, as does the Marine Corps Marathon."

Dumm's legs don't stop at 26.2 miles. He ran his first ultramarathon, the JFK 50-mile race, in November 2010, winning it with a time of 5:52:02. He said he plans to run in the 37th Marine Corps Marathon in Washington Oct. 28, followed by the 50th-annual JFK 50-mile run in Hagerstown, Md., Nov. 17.