IX AT 50: Passion for fitness takes KU’s Dobbins around the world
June 23, 1972, President Nixon signed Title IX into law, prohibiting sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. Title IX has largely been considered the springboard for high school and collegiate women’s sports to get where they are today — but the fight for equality is far from over. Every Thursday night at 10:00 p.m. leading up to the 50th anniversary of the law’s passing, 13 Sports will honor the women who changed the game for girls’ and women’s sports in Kansas.
“IX at 50: The Trailblazers of Women’s Sports in Kansas”
LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - The word “impossible” isn’t in Liz Dobbins’ vocabulary.
“Have no limiting beliefs,” she said.
The KU graduate’s passion for health and fitness has taken her across the world
“I started actually in my early thirties,” Dobbins, who competed in golf and gymnastics at KU from 1971-1975, said. “I thought, ‘Well, I’ll do a 10K.’ Did a 10K. And then all of a sudden I thought, ‘Well, did a 10K, I can do an Ironman.’ You know, what’s the big deal?”
She finished three full Ironmans: a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and 26-mile run.
Dobbins also finished a handful of halves, finishing second, third and fifth in her age group at the Worlds Championships.
“I have done Hawaii Ironman. I’ve done Germany, Canada,” she said. “So it’s been something on my bucket list to do.”
Her passion for adventure continued in her sixties.
“We thought, ‘Why not Kilimanjaro?’” she said.
She hopped on a plane to Africa and climbed to the summit of the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
All 19,000 feet.
“It was exhilarating, emotional. I’m happy I did it, but I was really happy to get back down,” she laughed.
While she climbed to the peak of her personal goals, she spent more than 40 years in the classroom teaching others the importance of physical education. Dobbins retired from her position as an adjunct professor at KU last year.
“I have taught all levels from preschool on up to higher ed,” she said. “I finished with higher ed just this last year in the physical education department in the health and science department at KU. It’s been a unique journey for me and the privilege of my career teaching in the same rooms that I went to school in.”
Her key message to students?
“Be curious, always be curious,” she said. “And believe anything is possible. In the failings, there’s the learnings.”
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