We Are Knox...
Doug Hill '77
Majors: Biology, Economics in Business Administration
You've finished that big project, and you’re ready to splurge a little. How do
you treat yourself? With chocolate? Shopping? A well-deserved nap?
For attorney Doug Hill '77, there's nothing better after a long day in court than
a hard run. Or swim. Or bike ride. Or all three.
"I'm addicted to three things -- chocolate, my wife, and exercise -- and not necessarily in that order," laughs Hill, who began distance running while a student at Costa Catholic School in Galesburg. By the time he graduated from Knox, he had set records in the three-mile, six-mile, and marathon.
"The curiosity for me has always been how much I can push myself," he says. "I want to see what my limit is."
Hill saw the first Ironman Triathlon on television in 1979. It was a life-changing moment. "I couldn’t understand how they did that. It just blew me away," says Hill of the back-to-back 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26-mile run. "I was hooked."
By the mid-1980s, Hill was a successful county prosecutor in Tacoma, Washington, but still found time to train for the grueling sport. He participated in two Ironman competitions in Canada and one in Hawaii, where he had a world class finish of 87th in a field of more than 1300. But injuries sustained from the extreme training left him sidelined for two years.
Hill found Olympic distance triathlons, which include a 1-mile swim, 25-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run, to be a better match for his competitive nature. "I can compete every two weeks all summer long," says Hill. "I'm tired after the race, but two weeks later I’m ready to go."
He has competed at the national and world level and loves the uncertainty that comes with competing in three events in one competition. "In marathons, you find a pace and hold it for the entire race," says Hill. "Triathlons are very different. Last year at nationals I was in fourth place after the swim, 15th after the bike, and eighth after the run. That makes it a lot more exciting."
At 55, Hill is often asked how long he plans to compete. "I've seen guys at world championships in their 70s. That just blows me away," he says. "It tells me when I’m that age I can still be out there having a great time with this."