October 4, 2023

Business professor readies for race of a lifetime

Russ DavidIt didn’t start with running marathons.

It started with a junior high school P.E. teacher who speculated that Russell Davis was running everywhere: to class, to home. So why doesn’t he try track?

Davis’ love of running began there.

On April 16, Davis will get to show his love of running as he competes in the Boston Marathon for the first time. The CSU adjunct professor and veteran marathoner has been preparing for the big event with an Olympic-trained coach.

Davis qualified for the Boston Marathon by racing in the Napa Valley Marathon in March 2011.

“I raced in the Napa Valley Marathon and was under the time to qualify. I tried two other times to qualify. I trained hard for that one,” Davis said. “Trying to qualify for Boston is the hardest one.”

CSU will have a special place in Boston. Davis had custom jerseys made for the occasion. The professor of two years obtained the logo from CSU and had a local manufacturer near him create the jersey.

“After working with the vendor, they made a whole line of sporting apparel for CSU,” Davis said. It was so successful other items were created as well and students have purchased some of the clothing line.

Beside the support of CSU, he is being sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for the Boston Marathon.

“Once I got accepted into the Boston Marathon, I reached out to some contacts in Boston. My goal amount that I raised was about $2,000 or some dollars,” said Davis, who easily met his financial goal.

With that behind him, the Pleasanton,-Calif., runner will soon began another phase of his preparations.

“I go through a series of visualizations. I visualize myself at points during the race. I see myself running the race, sweating heavily. I do that so that as soon the race starts, it’s like playing a movie.”

The day of the race, he’ll have his race-day breakfast and coffee, then take deep breaths and focus on visualization. “It helps me clear the mind for what I’m about to put my body through. I spend most of my time during the race not hearing anything. I feel the deepness of the breath. You push beyond what you could deliver,” Davis said.

If Davis isn’t busy enough with training, he’s also finishing his doctorate from CSU and working at Cisco Systems. He is a senior program manager in the operations organization.

“The CSU coursework that I have completed in the DBA program has really had an impact on the company for sure with respect to best practices,” Davis explained.

The professor has always been involved in teaching in one way or another. “Whether it’s training others, or a developmental role, there’s always been a theme of education,” Davis said.

“I enjoy helping others and learning in the process more than anything. The rewarding aspect is the interaction with the students, whether they are deployed or here in the states,” he said.

As a teacher, Davis said he was attracted to CSU’s sense of values. “I learned the values of what’s important to the institution, which is in alignment with my values,” he said.

He enjoys teaching and working with students. There is “nothing mundane about it. It is always an interesting and engaging experience with a student.”

Davis, who grew up in Vancouver, Wash., received his associate’s degree while in the Navy, a bachelor’s of science from Notre Dame in 1998 and a master’s degree from Notre Dame in 2001.

He has a wife, Carla, and three children, Dominic, 12, Bradley, 25, and Jennifer, 22.