March 2018


Ophthalmologist combines running and juggling for unique hobby

by Ellen Stodola EyeWorld Senior Staff Writer

Dr. Odom joggling around the Colosseum in Rome
Source: Terry Odom, MD

Dr. Odom frequently participates in joggling, which entails juggling while running

Terry Odom, MD, Dominion Eye Center, Danville, Virginia, is a general ophthalmologist who has been in practice for 32 years, focusing on both cataract and glaucoma surgery. Not long after getting into ophthalmology practice, Dr. Odom discovered a unique hobby that allows him to combine running and his juggling talent: joggling. Dr. Odom spoke to EyeWorld to explain joggling and discuss the many races he has competed in.

Getting into joggling

“After a year or so in practice, I was running to stay in shape,” Dr. Odom said. He also had an interest in juggling after getting a book that came with three balls. After subscribing to a juggling magazine, Dr. Odom read an article about a man competing in a marathon in California as a joggler. He was seeking to set the world record in joggling a marathon.
Dr. Odom said that joggling wasn’t something he had thought to do before, but since he found running by itself a bit boring, he thought he would try to juggle as he ran. Initially, he found it difficult to joggle with balls but found that juggling clubs worked much better. “I’ve been doing it ever since,” he said.

Joggling races and the rules

Dr. Odom has now run “scores of races,” including one marathon, multiple half marathons, and numerous 5Ks. In his marathon, he finished in about 5 hours, with only five drops. “In a marathon, it would be more than 50,000 tosses,” Dr. Odom said, so he was quite pleased to only have five drops of his clubs.
“You can drop as many times as you want,” Dr. Odom said, “but what you’re trying to do is set a time.” You don’t get penalized for dropping the clubs, but it takes longer to run the distance. If you drop, you have to go back to where you dropped and start from that point.
The current world record holder juggled the entire marathon without a drop, and his time is under 3 hours. “It’s a competitive sport,” Dr. Odom said.

Joggling for entertainment

“When you think about it, an elite juggler who can entertain a crowd has to have an enormous amount of talent,” Dr. Odom said, because people might get bored watching. When he first started juggling, Dr. Odom did birthday parties. “Joggling is another way that I can entertain people,” he said.
Though Dr. Odom doesn’t know if joggling factors into his ophthalmic surgery skills in any way, he does think it increases neuro-connections in the brain. He incorporates juggling at his practice and often juggles down the hall to entertain patients.
Whenever he runs now, Dr. Odom is juggling. He often joggles for 2–3 miles in the morning and is disappointed when he doesn’t run into a single person. However, he recounted an incident where his joggling on a bike path in Florida ended up causing a small fender bender; a driver rear-ended another car because he was observing Dr. Odom’s joggling instead of watching the road.
Dr. Odom is currently training for a half marathon in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, to set a master’s record. “I’ve joggled on every continent except Antarctica,” he said.

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Ophthalmologist combines running and juggling for unique hobby Ophthalmologist combines running and juggling for unique hobby
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