Syracuse Online

The Return

Faithful run helps renew spirit, soul

Published December 9. 2002 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

A few weeks ago, I hung up my writing pen in favor of my running shoes. I wrote a farewell to my readers, and pledged to spend my writing time in my running shoes. In the sweltering summer, I ran with renewed hope. I increased my miles, and enjoyed the forgotten taste of sweat on my lips.

As leaves turned and flurries flew, I relived the bitter memories of those who left. I remembered a father who raised me into manhood. I prayed for a mother who left me three children to raise. I relived the horrors of man's hate for his fellow man. On each of these days, I turned to running for answers.

The stress of uncertainty bore down as we stared in silence at our screens. We typed away looking for a sign. A radio in the corner carried the tunes of the pipers and the tears of the mourners. I felt a knot in my throat and tightness in my legs. My feet pulled me away from my desk. The road called.

At the stroke of noon, I abandoned my watch. In a Fourth of July race shirt and brown dress socks, I hit the road. A heavy cloud cover and a stiff wind gave proof to the sadness of the moment. I ran aimlessly, searching for a meaning to my run.

I remembered a simple rule to start a run into the wind when still feeling fresh, and to finish strong with a breeze to my back. So I ran into the wind toward the Mohawk Valley, a retired bomber that stood at the gate in memory of those who gave their lives so we may run free.

As I approached she drew me to her shadow. I noticed that she had rolled away from the road to make room for construction. I ran under her wings and felt her shelter from the winds. On her hallowed ground, I gave a prayer of thanks for those who flew for our sake, and a prayer of remembrance for those who left.

True to the promise, a breeze to my back brought me home. I finished my run physically strong and emotionally drained. I cleansed my body in the hot waters of the shower and my soul in the faith in our future. I returned to my keyboard and resumed my watch. On this day, all ended well.

© 2002 The Post-Standard.

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