Friday, August 27, 2010

Runner in the Spotlight: Michael Dudish

Thanks to Michael Dudish for providing such a great read. Best of luck to him in his future racing endeavors!

Where do you work?

I am currently employed at Lions Services, Inc. as the Quality Control Administrator. We manufacture textile products for the government, however our main task is being able to provide employment to people who are blind or visually impaired while assuring customer satisfaction with quality products and services.

As a matter of fact, when I first joined this company I was approached by one of the production employees who I now call my friend. Shannon came up to me and told me he had overheard me saying I was a runner. He wanted to join the small group I run with…now in most cases I would welcome him like anyone else, except Shannon is visually impaired and I just wanted to get my group of friends all on the same page. Here I am a couple of years later and he not only has shown me a thing or two about impairments, but he constantly has challenged me to improve my running in hopes that I can keep up with him. He is now on his second year of the Grand Prix Challenge. One day I hope to actually beat him in a race…one day…

What's your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?
Unfortunately it burned down this past year. Big Ben’s will be sorely missed and I really do keep my fingers crossed that it will be rebuilt. Their fish and chips are the best I’ve ever had.

How long have you lived in Charlotte?
Funny story there…I originally was going to move to Peoria, IL with some friends back in 1996. But prior to the last big trip to visit there I had about 15-20 different people tell me to try the south and to visit Charlotte. Angering my friends, I decided to do just that and after staying here for three days I fell in love with it. I packed everything up and moved down two weeks later and have been here since.

When and why did you start running?
I blame my brother for this…I am not made for running like most of those jack rabbits out there. My brother was a big track and cross country star at our high school, at least in my eyes, and with a ton of medical issues growing up I never really tried running until I was in college, never taking it very far at that time. Then after college I started to be a little more serious and actually completed 4 Utica Boilermaker 15k’s until I moved down here. Then it was on again and off again until after a fight with cancer (I won that fight) I decided I needed to lose some weight. Since then it’s been pretty good with only minor stops here and there due to ankle and foot injuries.

What do you love about running?
I will never win a race due to my build. When they make a running class for the true Clydesdales, those whose weight exceeds 200 pounds and not due to height
but muscle, I might win one. That being said, I love running for several reasons. Getting into shape, and being able to relax and enjoy the run are two. However, the main reason would be I’ve met so many awesome friends that in the past several years I’ve really changed the core of who I am thanks to the conversations and debates I’ve had during and after the runs.

Favorite place you've traveled and loved for running?
Though I was only able to actually get out and do it once due to weather, the best place I’ve traveled to and able to take a moment to run was in Puyallup, Washington during a business trip. The environment was perfect for it, just had to work 14 days straight with 12 hour shifts, making it a rough time. The run was in the middle of it and it was a nice, relaxing break from the business end of things.

What’s the funniest/strangest/worst thing that has ever happened to you on a run?
It was during one of those 4 Utica Boilermaker 15k races…I was nearing the 7 mile mark and had 3 women come up and run next to me saying that I officially had the best legs of all the runners they had seen. They told me they had been following me for the last 3 miles and comparing…at the 7 mile mark it was something that got a huge grin on my face and helped me finish that one.

What motivates you to get out the door every day in this summer heat?
Knowing that when I come back in it will be to an air conditioned house. But honestly, if it’s the weekend then knowing I get to hang with my wife wins it every single day. I hope to get some bonus points on that one if she reads this.

What's your most memorable race and why?
The first YMCA Dowd half marathon I ran in. Up until that point I’d never ran anything farther than the 15k’s. The experience of running the half and completing it was truly a feeling of accomplishment.

Favorite Charlotte race?
The Greekfest 5k. Fast, somewhat flat, and close enough to Rebecca Thomason’s house that she can stand on her front porch and holler at me, inspiring me to run faster.

Where is your favorite place to run in Charlotte?
So many…the park in Pineville, the Booty Loop, and the Thursday night Dilworth run routes all ring true.
What’s your favorite CRC group run to join?
I need to go out and try some more…slow as I am…the Thursday night crew at the Dilworth Neighborhood Grill rock have been the best to hang with. They’ve pushed me many a time when I needed it.
Favorite distance? PR?
My favorite distance is the 10k’s and 15k’s. Though I can sprint really fast and enjoy the 5k’s, those are the ones that I can just let go and just run at my pace. Knowing that there is no way you will come in at any great number in a race makes it a nice time to just enjoy the run. My PR on those is a 58:34 and a 1:32:01, like I said…I am not a runner made to run those fast speeds for very long.

What’s next on your race calendar?
My awesome wife kind of felt burned out from all the running and training we did from last year’s Dowd half marathon…so this year we decided to take it easy and just pick and chose some nice races. The Greekfest is one I’ve been looking forward to, but with a recent bunch of medical issues seems doubtful to make. The other nice one I really enjoy is the DOWD Half and 5k. Gunning for the 5k would be a nice way to at least get one actual race in the year where it’s been tough to make any.

What do you love most about the Charlotte Running Club?
The people I’ve met and gotten to chat with have all been friendly. Rebecca Thomason and Chris Cummins got on my case to join up since they said it doesn’t matter the type of runner just that you enjoy running and the CRC has been just that!

If you were the President of the CRC, what would you try to change / make happen in the club?
Everything so far that I have experienced has been awesome. I miss the pasta socials…more pasta socials! Pasta for everyone!

Anything else interesting you want to add?
Thanks to CRC a whole bunch…Speed is a nice thing…but the passion for running and hanging out with people who share that passion is even better. I also wanted to share the picture below. A little bit of humor in regard to trying to put my thoughts of not running for a bit versus a bear learning from his bee buddies that there is no honey. It's one of the things that is helping me to get through the recovery period and to not focus on any injuries or weaknesses.


  1. This was fun to read, the wife says you get brownie points!

  2. Michael Dudish sure sounds like a fun guy (knowing his dad I'm not surprised!). Wishing Michael and his wife the best of happiness and success at everything they pursue. Greetings from sunny Florida... :)