WASHINGTON - At least two professors in the College of Dentistry
have made running a part of their regimen to promote causes and fitness.
Most recently, Dr. Donna Grant-Mills, an associate professor and chair of
the Department of Dental Hygiene, was one of over 20,000 runners who crossed
the finish line last month in Washington during the 37th Annual Marine Corps
Dr. Tadasha Culbreath, an assistant professor in the Department of Restorative
Dentistry, routinely participates in breast cancer runs and walks in the Washington
area, in part as homage to her mother and for her own personal fitness.
Grant-Mills finished the nation's fourth largest marathon, which included
participants from every state and 54 countries, in six hours and 12 minutes. She
spent the entire year training with a women's walking group after being inspired
by a friend who had participated in the race the past two years.
"I joined the walking group in December of last year to improve my fitness
and health," Grant-Mills said. "When I registered for the marathon
in March, I did so thinking that I could always change my mind."
By June, Grant-Mills was walking 18 miles in five hours. She was then
certain that she wanted to participate in the marathon. She even
trained while visiting her daughter in Bogota, Columbia, using the city's high
elevation to increase her endurance.
Still, Grant-Mills admits the marathon was difficult.
"The mileage between the 16 mile and 24 mile markers were the most difficult,"
she said. "It was amazing, quite an exciting experience. I'm planning
on doing it again next year."
Culbreath began running to promote breast cancer awareness and research not
long after watching her mother struggle with the disease.
Since then, she annually participates in a number of events, including the
Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon last month and the two-day, 40-plus mile
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in May.
She usually recruits one or two students from the College of Dentistry to
go with her.
"It's personal for me on two levels," Culbreath said. "First,
I want to help find a cure for the disease that recently took one of my dear
friends. Second, it's important for me to stay fit for my own personal
health and to promote fitness among my friends and among the students."