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Local Editorials

Mike Dwight: Dog Walker

Some people are dog owners, others are dog lovers. Mike Dwight, of Burlington, is a dog lover.

Over the years, he’s had numerous dogs. There was Annie, Bud, Holly, Snuggles, Maverick, and now Penny. Most of them were mixed breeds, and Mike loved them all.

He can tell you to the day, when he got them, how long they lived, and the day they died. Mike is a detail person, and he records everything.

Mike is also a runner. He started running in 1979 to get in shape and lose weight. And lose weight he did — 58 lbs. — from 239 to a trim 181. He now competes in many of the local 5K and 10K runs.

At his age of 62, he usually brings home a medal in his age group. There are so few older runners.

Now for the really good part: not only is Mike a runner, but he is also a dog walker.  And he meticulously records the dogs’ mileage. Penny, a terrier mix, is 14 years old, and, as of April 9, 2014, has walked 17,052 miles.

Yep. One year, Penny got in 2,000 miles.

Bud, one of his other dogs, had 11,059 miles, before he passed away. Mike believes that exercise is as good for his dogs as it is for him.

Athletics runs in Mike’s family. Mike Dwight is the uncle of Tim Dwight, former return specialist for the University of Iowa football team, two-time All American, and NFL standout. Tim Dwight occasionally joins his Uncle Mike in one of the races.

Retired from GE after 38 years and three weeks, Mike’s advice for older runners (like me) is recovery time. As you age, it becomes more and more important to alternate hard exercise days with recovery days, to let the muscles, joints, and tendons recover from the stress. 

Mike runs five days a week, and walks two. Six miles is a long run for Mike.

He is also a big proponent of the run/walk philosophy, as taught by such well known elderly runners as Jeff Galloway. A typical run/walk scenario is: run a mile, and walk 100 steps. 

Runners utilizing such a strategy have found race times dropping, bodies feeling better, and injuries less frequent or non-existent.

Mike is an outdoor runner year round. He doesn’t have a treadmill. On the really bad days, when the streets and sidewalks are snow and ice covered, he has been known to run, in his house, from the back door to the front door, over and over again. 

If he really pushes it, he can get in six rounds a minute, and his heart rate up to 180 beats per minute. It might be a good thing that his wife, Christine, works during the day.

Down to just one dog now, Penny, Mike isn’t satisfied with his own daily runs, plus walking Penny. He often goes over to his sister’s house and walks her dogs. Anyone out there need a dog walked?

Mike’s email address is The “walkerof3” stands for the two dogs he was walking at the time, plus himself, equals three. Drop him an email. He’d love to hear about you and your dog.

Penny is getting pretty gray around the muzzle. Mike knows that her days are numbered. He has decided that she is going to be his last dog.

Yeah, right.

• • •

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at (319) 217-0526, email him at, or visit his website at  You can listen to Curt’s recordings of his column at

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