Students enrolled in History of Western Christianity I with Rev. Brian Dunkle, S.J., might not know that their professor is not only a Jesuit but also a stellar runner.
Today, Dunkle is an associate professor of historical theology. After growing up in Long Island, N.Y., Dunkle attended Harvard University for his undergraduate degree where he competed on the track and cross country teams.
Dunkle has run several marathons, but he ran his most recent one over 15 years ago. Dunkle said that he was not planning on running another marathon at this point in his life but ultimately decided to after considering the significance of the Boston Marathon.
“I stopped doing [marathons] because they take a lot of time and a lot of training,” Dunkle said. “But many people encouraged me to do the Boston Marathon because it’s so famous and so old, the legacy attached to it, the tradition.”
Dunkle also said he saw training as a social activity since several other Jesuits and Brothers were preparing to run. Dunkle, who qualified for the marathon, began training 16 weeks prior to the marathon. He said that making time for training on top of his duties as a Jesuit and professor was a challenge.
“It was very difficult to balance [training] with all the teaching responsibilities and the responsibilities for helping out in churches and everything, so it takes a lot of time,” Dunkle said.
While running the marathon, Dunkle said he was impressed with the size of the crowds near Boston College at Mile 21. This point in the race was a highlight for him, as he said he enjoyed looking for familiar faces in the crowd.
“[I was] on the lookout for different people I know—students and friends and other Jesuits, family who might be there,” Dunkle said. “So it gives you something to focus on.”