Accounting instructor is born to run

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AccountingWEB is interested in how accounting professionals are staying in shape. Dori Danko, an accounting instructor at Grand Valley State University's School of Accounting, responded to our quest for information and sparked our interest.

A full-time accounting professor for the past 11 years at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Danko previously practiced as a controller in private industry and as an auditor for Coopers & Lybrand. While at Coopers in Grand Rapids, she was part of a running team that participated in the local Triple Crown Series of races.

After a 10 year hiatus, Danko recently started running again. “The benefits of running are wide and varied. I love it because it grounds me and takes away stress,” she told AccountingWEB. “It also allows me the benefits of maintaining or losing weight. It brings you outside when you would not go out for any other reason.”

Running had been a big part of her life. “During my Coopers days, I was an auditor and would bring my shoes with me on engagements. I worked out with other colleagues who liked to run. We would set courses and run after a long day of auditing,” Danko said.

“Sometimes I would rise early and run the stairs at the hotel with a colleague. Most of us wanted to avoid the busyseason weight gain and the weight issues that come from being out of town. I do not miss busy season but do miss the camaraderie that comes with being an auditor. I am so pleased with my academic life and working at GVSU,” she said.

A few months after her return to running, the Health and Wellness department at GVSU sent out an e-mail to its staff asking if anyone was interested in being part of a running club and participating in the Grand Rapids Triple Crown Series. For Danko, it was a return to the same race with a new team.

“There are 15 of us on GVSU's team,” she said. “Faculty, staff, and family members of GVSU employees were all welcome. We do not train together but do share ideas when we meet at the races. We talk about different places to run, other clubs, etc. Most of us have run before for fun or competition over the years. ” 

The team also keeps in touch through e-mail, Danko added, encouraging each other and sharing information about other races.

The Grand Rapids Triple Crown Series consists of three 5k races. The Irish Jig, in mid-March, is first; the Brian Diemer takes place in mid-June; and the Reeds Lake Run is held at the end of June. Despite the challenging weather during the Irish Jig event earlier this year, all 10 members of the GVSU team completed the race.

Michigan is not known for a mild climate year-round, but that doesn’t stop avid runners.

“Most of us agree, myself included, that we like to run outside all year long. We battle the Michigan weather wearing our outdoor gear including Yaks Tracks on our shoes; we hate treadmills for the most part – boring,” Danko said.

“I started running in my early 20s to stay in shape and battle the everyday stress of life. Life just seems easier after a run,” said Danko, who added that running isn’t all she does to stay in shape. “I weight lift and do other cardio as well: spin class, walking the dog, keeping up after kids, skiing, etc.”

Running is a great sport because the opportunity to do it is readily available and it doesn’t require much equipment, according to Danko.

“If you are thinking of running, enter into a race in your local area. Most of them benefit charity so you are doing something good for your community and your health. I would get on the Internet or talk to people you know who run,” Danko said. “Runners love to share information. Get a training schedule for yourself and buy a good pair of shoes. Consider running for different periods of time – fast, slow, or walk at first. This is a great time of year to start!”

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