Syracuse Online


Dr. J. on Running

Second Century

Sonnata of Words in Time

Published February 19, 2001 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

The caller introduced himself as Charlie Miller, assistant sports editor at the Post Standard. "I heard you're interested in writing about a running." I sent him a sample, then a second and third. That was four years ago.

Today, I write column number two hundred, and revisit my second century of columns, divide it into decades, and highlight common threads.

The first decade dealt with spring training. I gave runners some safety tips, previewed the Boston Marathon, and advised Jamie on training for her first marathon.

The second decade focused on people of all ages. I ran with little Ali through Highland Forest, talked to Vicki Mitchell about her Olympic aspirations, and listened to master Barbara Bellows' ultra stories.

The third decade had a medical twist. I discussed knee injuries and Jack Daniels' running book, and wondered at the shape of things to come in Sydney.

I raced a deer in my fourth decade, and my wife ran another marathon. I criticized the Race for the Cure, and promoted local clubs as the right was to run.

In my fifth decade I welcomed the year 2000 and enjoyed a few good meets. From Saskatoon to the Carrier Dome and the New York Armory, winter had plenty of track to offer.

As the Olympic Games drew closer, I watched with horror the US marathon trials, as only one man and one woman made the team. That was a figurative "watching", since NBC did not broadcast them, and prevented others from webcasting them.

The seventh decade had a childish twist. I dissected the lingo of young runners, gave fatherly advice to my son and daughters, and chaperoned a dozen kids to the Junior Olympics.

The Olympics dominated my eighth decade. I looked at the US distance team, wished Jen Rhines Godspeed, exposed the conspiracy to keep live coverage out of our living rooms, and celebrated NBC's ratings disaster.

In the ninth decade I mourned the passing of running greats Arnie Briggs, Emil Zatopek and Marty Glickman. From women's running and Olympic hat tricks to sports broadcasting, each left a legacy in his wake.

I closed my second century with a resolution to run more often, in more places. From airport escalators to frozen tundra, I ended a century and started a millenium with a good book and the greatest joy of being serious.

Charlie no longer calls. Nicole has taken over the weekly chore of editing my writing into print. The symphony of words continues, one step at a time, one thought at a time.

As I look forward to a third century of articles, I recall the words of George Sheehan. As long as I run, I will write about the joy and the pain that running brings into my life.

Whom am I kidding? Running IS my life.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at

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