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Oct. 5, 2021

Desmond Dunham: Succeeding Against the Odds, Episode #129, 10-05-2021

Desmond Dunham: Succeeding Against the Odds, Episode #129, 10-05-2021

How has adversity inspired your success?

Renowned cross-country coach Desmond Dunham, known to his athletes as Coach Dez, joins the podcast to talk with Kelly and Maria about how he turned pain in his childhood into a passion for mentorship. He talks about the lessons in his new book, Running Against the Odds, and how coaching is one way he gives back to the community. 

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Desmond Dunham, or as he’s known to many, Coach Dez, is a nationally-renowned running coach, mentor, Under Armour Coach Ambassador and the author of the newly released book, Running Against the Odds. Coach Dez is a nationally acclaimed track and field and cross-country coach who has been teaching, mentoring and coaching in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area for over two decades. He’s also the founder of Kids Elite Sports which offers summer sports camp and youth sports training. This camp has positively affected nearly 800 students.

Episode Topics and Mentions

Cross country running


Kids Elite Sports

Running Against the Odds by Desmond Dunham

Vietnam War


Domestic violence

Speech impediment




Howard University



Gary, Indiana

Little League Baseball

The steel industry

South Africa





  1. Goals need a plan to be successful. There is a place for wishing -- but goals need actual planning to come to fruition.
  2. “Anti-influencers” can inspire us to do the opposite of what they do and inspire us to positively change the world.


  1. Follow your passion, even if it leads somewhere that doesn’t seem as shiny as another option. 
  2. Failure can be a great teacher and inspire later successes. 

Quote of the Week

“You can find something that can be your passion, your outlet, that can give you a lot of fuel so that you can have maximum output in everything else that you do.” -- Desmond Dunham

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