Syracuse Online

Runner's Union

Free Latte For All

Published January 27, 2003 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Runners unite! After decades of exploitation by race directors and neglect by government officials, the time has come to form a union that will stand for runners' rights.

A runners' union will demand more water stops along race courses and clean toilets at the start and finish areas. No more wondering when the next drink will come. No more standing in line or going into the bushes. To each a toilet, and to all plenty of drinks.

We will demand slower watches and shorter courses. We will insist on personal records at every race. We will ban starting times and guns. Just by showing up at a race, a runner has the right to pick his finishing time.

For those who insist on racing, we will negotiate breaks every 15 minutes to allow disadvantaged runners to catch up with the pack, lest we hurt their feelings. To ensure compliance with the break policy, we will designate a leader to ride in a limousine alongside the runners.

We will work to abolish the prize structure that favors the top one percent of all runners at the expense of the middle class. Every runner is entitled to a prize, regardless of their ability.

We will raise the entry fees of those who race, so we can reward those who don't. A compassionate society must thank the spectators who cheer from the sidelines.

We promise to improve post-race refreshments and achieve a living meal. No more cold turkey in a stale roll. Every race will provide a smorgasbord, complete with cappuccino, to every runner and every spectator.

Since running may be hazardous to our health, we will require physicians to watch for our wellbeing and masseuses to tend to our soreness.

At the end of the day, any race that makes a profit must return all of it to the runners. Since races cannot make a profit without runners, they must not make a profit with runners either.

Your union will watch over you even when you are not racing. We will seek to classify running as a mental disability. We will solicit federal funding for water fountains in the neighborhoods and running paths along highways.

We will insist that sidewalks get plowed before roadways in winter. We will also buy radio ads to remind everyone that runners keep the roads clean by picking up loose change.

© 2003 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