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A Running Library For Syracuse

Published December 22, 1997, in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

At its December meeting, the Board of Directors of the Syracuse Chargers Track Club authorized the creation of a running library in honor of Ed Stabler. The proposed collection will consist of books of historical significance, biographies, literary works, training books, medical and nutrition books, and bound volumes of running periodicals.

The Ed Stabler Running Library was established through the Chargers mission to promote running and fitness education, and a desire to preserve the rich heritage of running. This is expected to be the first public running collection in the world, re-creating the history of running through the stories of people and places.

The running library will be dedicated to Ed Stabler, arguably one of the most prolific local runners, to celebrate his lifelong contribution to running. As he approaches his eighth decade of running, Ed just retired from Syracuse University, where he taught electrical and computer engineering for 35 years.

In the initial phase of collecting material, the running library will be housed at a private location, while a permanent home is identified. A college or county library will be ideal, providing local public access, while permitting national access through the Inter-Library Loan system. For that purpose, there may be two copies of some manuscripts, one for reference and one for circulation.

The initial holdings of the running library came from donations of more than 250 items, divided into six broad categories: biographies, history, literature, medical, training and multimedia.

The biographies of Evelyn Ashford, Roger Bannister, Joan Benoit, Sebastian Coe, Ron Daws, Clarence DeMar, Gil Dodds, Jim Fixx, Johnny Kelly, Michael Johnson, Eric Liddell, Carl Lewis, Marty Liquori, Liz McColgan, Jesse Owens, Steve Prefontaine, Bill Rodgers, Jim Ryun, Steve Scott, Frank Shorter and Dave Wottle have already been acquired. A wishlist of out-of-print books includes the biographies of Zola Budd, Mary Decker Slaney, Rob DeCastella, Marlene Ottey, Steve Ovett, Anna Quirot, Grete Waitz and John Walker.

Books of historical significance include Louise Tricard's "History of American Women's Track and Field between 1895 and 1980," the histories of the Boston and New York City marathons, Kenneth Cooper's "Aerobics" that started the running boom, and Jim Fixx's "Complete Book of Running." George Orton's 1916 "Athletic Training for School Boys" and the United States Naval Institute 1943 "Track and Field Manual" lead the category of rare books.

Literary works on running include the complete writings of George Sheehan, and classic novels such as Alan Sillitoe's "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" and John Parker's "Once A Runner."

The medical portion of the library includes books on running physiology, injuries and nutrition. Included in this category are Tim Noakes' "Lore of Running," David Costill's "Inside Running," Joe Ellis' "Running Injury-Free," Nathan Pritikin's "Diet For Runners," and Nancy Clark's "New York City Marathon Cookbook."

The training section is the largest part of the library, consisting of selected books on running and racing. Classic works include Jeff Galloway's "Book of Running," Lawrence and Scheid's "Self-Coached Runner," Martin and Coe's "Training Distance Runners," and many books by Joe Henderson and Hal Higdon.

There are also several VHS tapes with clippings from various Olympic Games, and movies such as "The Jericho Mile," "The Jesse Owens Story," "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner," "On the Edge" and "Wilma." The library is also awaiting the release of two movies on Steve Prefontaine and a new documentary on Jim Ryun.

A computer search of the Library of Congress suggests that the running library will grow to over 1,000 manuscripts. Instead of attempting to collect every book on "How to Train For Your First 5K," they plan to focus this collection on books of historical or scientific value.

A list of the current holdings of the running library can be accessed on the web at http://uplink.syr.edu/running/chargers/runbooks.html. Additional materials are sought, in particular old running books and magazines in good condition.

Kamal Jabbour, whose RUNNING Column appears Mondays in The Post-Standard, is the acting curator of the Ed Stabler Running Library. Donated books may be mailed to him at 121 Link Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse NY 13244-1240, or dropped off at any Chargers event. He can also be reached at jabbour@syr.edu.


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