Tamara Hew has been the advisor to the Running Club since its inception. She is also a researcher and professor at Oakland University. We had the opportunity to catch up with her and speak about herself and her involvement with the Running Club.
What do you do as an advisor?
Hmm. Good question! Since the students are supposed to drive the direction of the Club, I am basically here to support and provide oversight. Since I love these students and LOVE RUNNING, I try to cultivate some fun club events like sponsoring previous Halloween runs where members ran around campus in costume and handed out candy. We also had a treasure hunt and Easter Egg hunt. I also try to encourage end of year gatherings in the Prevention Research Center (where I conduct my research). I enjoy running with the club, although I’m currently too slow to keep up with them (so, avoid the embarrassment).
How did you get involved with the Running Club as an advisor?
My Honors College student (Brigid Nash) actually started the Running Club in the Fall of 2011 and asked if I wanted to be their advisor and I was THRILLED! The ensuing Club Presidents (Carmen, Syed) have done a FABULOUS job stimulating interest and growing the Club.
What does it mean to you to be an advisor of the Running Club?
I am SO PROUD AND HONORED to be advisor of the Running Club! Mostly because I am passionate about running and enjoy seeing the students reap the benefits of health, camaraderie and connection with the University that this Club offers. Plus, Syed is HILARIOUSLY funny and all the students make me laugh. As an Evil Professor, it’s refreshing to hear the student’s point of view as we converse on runs. How many professors actually get to connect with other students in such a casual way? Running brings all types of people together, who normally would never cross paths if it were not for running.
Do you have plans for the club?
I’d like to see more “fun events” for Club members on campus (more relays, themed runs, community involvement to encourage running). But, it’s hard as everyone’s schedule varies and the student’s get so busy. They like going to races together and have joined the Inter-School Club competition which is fantastic!
Tamara Hew as Daisy Duck during a Running club Halloween event
How long do you hope to be the club’s advisor?
I hope I am never voted off as advisor and wish to remain deeply connected to the Running Club until I leave or retire.
What do you do at OU besides act as the Running Club’s advisor?
I consider myself a researcher, with expertise in fluid balance disorders and exercise-associated collapse. I conduct as much research with a variety of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students as possible here at OU and in the field (at races). Currently, I am screening as many of the OU student-athletes as possible to obtain baseline data which to launch future studies designed to prevent injuries and achieve peak performance. And, of course I teach classes…
Tell me more about your research: I measure a lot of markers of performance, including tests to determine maximum aerobic capacity (i.e. how “fit” people are, OR how efficient people are in utilizing oxygen for fuel. This is called a person’s “VO2 Max”). For the VO2 test of maximum performance, I hook up people to machines which measure how much oxygen they are breathing in compared to how much carbon dioxide they are breathing out, so it looks like they have a snorkel while running. THEN, I start the treadmill at an “easy pace” and increase the speed of the treadmill 0.5mph every minute until the person can’t keep up with the treadmill (i.e. they fall off). This is what we affectionately call a “max test”, with the highest treadmill speed ever recorded in the lab treadmill a whopping 15.5mph in a professional runner (that runner, in fact, was Syed’s High School coach)! We also routinely draw blood, collect urine and run DEXA scans in the lab before, during and after exercise to find out how exercise affects the body (both good and bad).
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