Name: Erika Driver-Dunckley, MD
and my husband Travis Dunckley, PhD
Year of Birth: 1973
Height: 5’9” and 6’
Weight: 140lbs and 170lbs
Birthplace: Texas and Alaska
Current Residence: Scottsdale, Arizona
Running, Cycling, Triathlons, Marathons, Half-Ironmans, and AZ Ironman
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living, what hobbies / interests / passions
I am an Associate Professor of Neurology at Mayo Clinic Arizona. My research interests
are in diet and exercise and the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.
My husband, Travis, is an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenomics Division of the
Translational Genomics Research Institute in Arizona.
We are the parents of 4 children (1 set of twins) and our whole family is vegan. We also have adopted 3 cats, 4 chickens, 1 turkey and 1 goose.
Why did you become vegan?
I had been vegetarian before, but after reading the World Peace Diet, by Will Tuttle,
overnight our entire family went vegan (January of 2009).
When and why did you become interested in fitness?
Since I was a child I was involved in track and field and maintained my interest in
endurance sports to keep my energy levels and fitness high. My husband was also a cross
country runner in high school and earned a black belt in karate at the age of 14. He has
since shifted to more focused cycling training and has competed in numerous cycling races.
How would you describe your nutrition program?
Vegan, Healthy, and about 50% raw. I also love to bake though (b/c I am a mom) so our
family does enjoy some naughty vegan treats.
How would you describe your training program?
Daily and intense. We are dedicated to fitness and training. I bike 60-80 miles per week, Run 40-50 miles per week, swim 1-2 hrs per week and lift weights and run stadiums at ASU (AZ State University).
My husband bikes approximately 200 miles per week, lifts weights, and runs stadiums at ASU (we do this as a family).
What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?
We use some vega products, take a vegan multivitamin and have a vitamix – for amazing
organic, raw, all natural smoothies.
How do people react when they find out you are vegan?
They are in shock. We typically are asked “what do you eat for protein?”
What are some common misconceptions about veganism?
That you will be weak, vitamin deficient, and just plain weird.
Have you had success in promoting veganism / vegetarianism to others? If so, how did you
go about it?
I TELL EVERYBODY about veganism! I send emails, recipes, book recommendations,
movie recommendations and recently started a twitter and facebook page to start a
community with other vegans and to promote my diet-related research. You can find me
I plan on winning the Nobel Prize for my discoveries on the effect diet has on disease. If
I don’t win I will settle for a paper in the esteemed, New England Journal of Medicine
What do you think the most important aspect of training is?
I think that proper diet is most critical to enable training at a high intensity and to
facilitate sufficient recovery between workouts.
What do you like best about being vegan?
What is there not to like? We are not exploiting or killing animals, helping the environment
and keeping our arteries clean and our bodies healthy. Most importantly we are teaching
our children compassion for all beings and the importance of health.
What do you like best about being fit?
That I feel amazing and can run circles around most people!
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with training?
Take it easy so you don’t get injured.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?
Just do it! And don’t worry, those cravings for cheese will cease!
What motivates you in life?
My kids and husband
What do you think of veganbodybuilding.com? Has it helped or inspired you?
I think it is a great website!! I forward it to anyone who tells me that I am protein deficient!
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Go Vege-powered athletes!
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim 44 mile Run 2001
Tucson Marathon 1995, 1999(3:57)
Chicago Marathon 2011 (3:48)
Phoenix Rock’n Roll Half Marathon 2006 (1:49), 2010 (1:43)
Women’s Half Marathon Phoenix 2010 (1:41)
Rillito 10k, Cinco de Mayo 10k, Cedric Dempsey Cancer Center 10k
Sundown at the pass 5 mile run, Special Olympics 10 mile Benefit Run
Run for the Cure 5k, Pony Express 5k, Turkey Trot 5k
Bisbee Iceman Stair Run - 2009
El Tour de Tucson Bike Race – 2000, 2001 (113 miles, 5:48)
Tour de Phoenix Bike Race – 2000, 2001, 2002 (70 miles, 3:19)
Tour of the Tucson Mountains – 2000 (62 miles, mtn bike 3:42)
Durango Iron Horse Bicycle 48 mile Classic - 2002
Firebird Lake Triathlon – 2001
Desert Classic McDowell Mountain Duathlon 2000 (2:09), 2010(2:04), 2011(2:06), Jewish
Community Center Duathlon
Vineman Half Ironman 2004 (6:28), Marquee Marquee Half Ironman 2011 (5:46)
AZ Ironman 2011: 13:58:46
Tour de Tucson – 2000, 2001, 36th place 2002, 24th place 2003, 2010
Tour de Phoenix – 4th place 2003; 5th place 2004; 12th place 2010
Tour of the Tucson Mountains – 3rd place 2008, 2009
Iron Horse Bicycle Classic 2002, 2003 and 2010 – 19th Masters 35-44
Arizona State Road Race Championships 2003 – 1st place Cat 5