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One step at a time: McMahan runs the world

August 18, 2016

By David Nordby The Brillion News

HILBERT – Dot McMahan has spent the majority of her life running. Running everywhere, within the United States, and around the world. She’s set foot on paths from Japan, all the way back to her hometown of Hilbert, and numerous places in between.

McMahan, formerly Bunnell, has been a champion and top-place finisher in numerous events, including three strong performances in the Olympic Trials in 2008, 2012 and earlier this year. McMahan was also part of a prestigious world marathon team that competed in Moscow in 2013 and was a champion in the USA 25k National Championship in the same year, just to name a couple of examples.

On November 6, McMahan will cross another accomplishment off her bucket list when she competes in the TCS New York City Marathon U.S. Pro Field, which is the latest event in a long line over the last decade.

McMahan attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on a scholarship after graduating from Hilbert High School. She graduated college in 1999, and was married a year later. McMahan worked for five years, but it was during that time she saw improvements in her running.

She had given herself a two-year window to meet running time goals before she moved on from the sport for good. McMahan achieved what she was asking of herself within one year. “I really have never looked back from that moment,” McMahan said.

Prior to her post-college improvements, McMahan described herself as “okay.”

“I don’t think I was a superstar by any means,” McMahan said. McMahan describes herself as “high energy” and enjoyed volleyball and basketball, as well. “Running was always the one sport I stood out in.”

Giving up a full time job, McMahan moved to Michigan with her husband and joined Hansons-Brooks running group in 2005. Her husband entered a new job with commission-based pay in sales.

“Things just kind of came together, but it was a huge risk,” McMahan said.

Since then, running has given McMahan the chance to see the world while also inspiring herself through her own pushing of her physical limits.

Though she improved in her sport after college, her true roots go back to Hilbert, where as a senior, she wondered if running would be something that would change her life.

“In a small community like Hilbert, you really get the support of the community,” McMahan said. “I think that really raised me up and made me realize I’m good at this.”

McMahan spent the first year of the move training endlessly. She was able to live with her husband – not in the living quarters of the rest of the team – but put the same work in that they did.

At the time, McMahan was used to running 50-60 miles a week, with 70 being her absolute maximum. With her new “part-time job,” McMahan was running over 100 miles a week.

McMahan recalls eating cereal following her runs and falling asleep at the table.

“Total, sheer exhaustion,” McMahan said. “But it paid off huge dividends.”

McMahan made her first world team by that September. “It paid off pretty quick so that will keep you motivated,” McMahan said.

Just like when she saw an improvement after college, McMahan saw another improvement in her running game following the 2009 birth of her daughter, Elizabeth. In her own words, McMahan became “significantly faster.”

Please see the complete story in the August 18, 2016 edition of The Brillion News. 



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