Dr.J. on Running


The Farewell

So Long, It Was a Good Run

Published June 24, 2002 in The Syracuse Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Over the past five years, I found myself playing the role of the voice, or pen, of the Central New York runner. The editors of the Post Standard afforded me the privilege and the opportunity to represent and write to the running community.

An accidental writer in the beginning, I grew to love this form of correspondence between us. The support of my family and friends gave me the courage and ideas to write a new column every week. My daily runs gave me the time to reflect and develop those ideas into words.

In two hundred and seventy-two columns, we have laughed together and cried together. We have celebrated the achievements of local heroes, and mourned the passing of timeless legends. We have shared each others stories of training and injury, running and racing, miles and marathons.

In my attempts to live up to the expectations of a well-read, highly educated, self-critical community, I sought the wisdom of writers who preceded me. I delved into the poetry of Gibran Khalil Gibran and the philosophy of George Sheehan. I visited new and used bookstores alike, reading and reviewing books from three centuries.

Sheehan wrote newspaper columns, magazine articles and best-selling books for several decades. One time he quipped that he would write as long as he could run. He wrote the last words in his book a few days before taking his last breath. His masterpiece "Running and Being" remains one of my favorites.

Gibran and I came from the same land, and shared a lot more than heritage. We shared a deep love for our adopted land, and a desire to express our gratitude by giving back whenever and wherever it mattered. We also shared an instinct for knowing when to say farewell. His farewell in The Prophet remains one of the most brilliant writings of all time.

Like Sheehan, I pledged to write for as long as I ran. Yet, like Gibran, I know that the time has come to say good bye. Burdened with work and injuries in recent months, the joy of running and writing have eluded me.

Today, I retire as contributing writer of this Running Column. Beginning tomorrow, I will replace the two hours that I spent every week at the keyboard with two hours spent in my running shoes on the roads.

© 2002 The Post-Standard.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Syracuse Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created TrackMeets.com, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at jabbour@i2sports.com.