Syracuse Online


Dr. J. on Running

Running Literacy

A Look Back In Time

Published August 13, 2001 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

At the end of last Wednesday's trail run at Highland Forest, I challenged a group of high school harriers to some trivia on running. I was horrified to find a generation of runners who thought that Bill Rodgers was a brand of underwear and that Mary Decker was a marathon champion.

So, for the benefit of those interested in our running heritage, I have prepared this simple 10-question quiz on running literacy. Name the following:

(a) The winner of first women's Olympic marathon;

(b) The only American woman to win an Olympic medal in a distance event on the track;

(c) The American who won four times each of the Boston and New York marathons;

(d) The last American man to win an Olympic medal in a distance event on the track;

(e) The last American man to win a gold medal in an Olympic marathon;

(f) The Syracuse native who set an American record in the marathon;

(g) The only American to run 5,000 meters in less than 13 minutes;

(h) The world record holder in the marathon;

(i) The Syracuse University student who became the first woman to officially finish the Boston Marathon;

(j) A local runner who qualified but missed the Olympics because of a boycott.

Here are the answers, to the best of my knowledge:

(a) Joan Benoit Samuelson, 1984 Los Angeles. She also set the current American record of 2:21:21 at the 1985 Chicago marathon.

(b) Lynn Jennings, bronze medal, 1992 Barcelona. Jennings also won three world cross country championships 1990-92.

(c) Bill Rodgers, Boston 1975, '78-80, New York 1976-79. Considered one of America's best runners ever, Rodgers never won an Olympic medal.

(d) Billy Mills, 10,000 meters, 1964 Tokyo. An Oglala Lakota Sioux born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Mills became a role model and mentor to Indian youths.

(e) Frank Shorter, 1972 Munich. Shorter also won the silver medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

(f) Jerry Lawson, 2:09:35, 1997 Chicago. Lawson also set a 25-km American record of 1:15:36 in 1990.

(g) Bob Kennedy, 12:58.21, 1996 Zurich. Kennedy won four NCAA championships and four U.S. 5,000-meter championships.

(h) Khalid Khannouchi, 2:05:42, 1999 Chicago. After receiving U.S. citizenship in 2000, Khannouchi set the American record of 2:07:01 while winning his fourth Chicago marathon.

(i) Katherine Switzer, 1967. Switzer championed the cause of women's running, and played an instrumental role in adding the women's marathon to the Olympics.

(j)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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