Burlington runner with autism inspires, completes Virtual Bix with top time

Dowd’s time this year would have put him in 30th place overall in the 2020 standings
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 1:12 PM CDT
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BURLINGTON, Iowa (KWQC) - Last year, Kile Dowd ran his first-ever Bix, posting a time of 55:35 despite no training.

Dowd was diagnosed with Autism at the age of four and didn’t begin speaking in full sentences until the fifth grade. Kile’s mother, Tara, said running gave Kile a passion and helped him on and off the running trails.

“Running is one thing that Kile’s been able to help him just stay focused in school and it’s a really good outlet for him and to be able to do something he’s passionate about,” Tara Dowd said.

Although, despite running the Virtual Bix last year with a time that landed him in the top 5% of all runners, the recent high school graduate’s running career was up in the air. Kile would have to lose out on some school aid in order to compete.

At first, Tara turned down the option for Kile to run in college, calling it “too big of a risk”.

But once news got out about Kile’s strong Bix performance, a new path opened for Kile.

“Once the story ran, the Coach from Southeastern Community College reached out to us and recruited Kile,” Tara said.

“I saw he was within 20 miles so I got in touch with him and he ended up joining the team,” Southeastern Community College Head XC/Track & Field Coach Lucas Keifer said.

Kile was able to join the team’s track team in the Spring after academic worries subsided after posting a 3.97 GPA. His studies focus on agriculture with Kile hoping to work on either a pumpkin farm or in a greenhouse.

He’s also performing well on the track, too.

“Kile’s been great for us, he scored last year for us at outdoor, scored for us at outdoor 10k,” Keifer said.

As well as the Bix.

“He actually ran around ten minutes fast than he did last year,” Tara said. Kile’s 2021 Bix time of 45:22 would have put him in 30th place overall in the 2020 standings.

Most of all for Coach Keifer is that he feels Kile is making him a better person.

“It has helped me tremendously as far as my coaching and even my personal life on how I approach certain things,” Keifer said, “I wish a lot of people had the heart that Kile did, he’s a great person, a great person to be on the team, to have around, I think he’s our biggest motivational and inspirational factor to this team kind of like the glue.”

“It’s been pretty awesome,” Kile said.

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