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300th Column

Century in Review

Published June 16, 2003 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Today, I write my three hundredth column on running, an unlikely milestone given my premature retirement of last summer. Like its older siblings, my third century of articles mirrored my journey through life as a runner. In good times and bad times, my words endured when my feet faltered, and my run through life went on.

I started my third century with a statement of my core belief that running is an end and a means. I assessed the role of the local club, lamented the failure of governing bodies at all levels, gave up on television and exposed the hypocrisy of charity races.

A third of the way into my third century, planes crashed into buildings and peace faded into a memory. Running and serving took on new meanings in my life, as I sought to recover a lost innocence. Stress took its toll and led to a six-month absence from writing.

Shining stars among us brightened my journey, as I witnessed the victories of Heather Stevens and Molly Huddle and wished them success in college. On the roads, I wondered in awe at the feats of Deena Drossin and Khalid Khannouchi as they rewrote the record books.

Wiser and slower, I applauded the personal records of Coreen Steinbach and the youthful spirit of Lennie Tucker. I admired the victory over adversity of Sam Toscano, the healing hands of Gabe Yankowitz, and the inspiration of Major Antonio Eppolito.

Time passed, and so did many friends in running. I mourned the untimely death of Wayne Hicks, and celebrated the lives of Brother Basilian O.Connell and Bill Townsend. I remembered the legends of Stan Saplin and Kurt Steiner.

Mid-life crisis, injuries and health woes characterized my running during that period. From winter slips and broken wrists, to plantar fasciatis and an inflamed sacro-illiac joint, I discovered physical therapy and electric stimulation. I suffered from kidney stones, bloody stools and chest pain, and learned about low-oxalate diet, colonoscopy and treadmill stress tests.

On the lighter side of running, I retained the gift of self-deprecation and laughed at my misfortunes. I focused on looking better as I grew older, and survived a tight run in tiny shorts. I started and ended many marathon training programs, and sought odd distances and biathlons to relive the thrill of personal records.

I give thanks for my health as I regain my fitness. I am back on track, running for the joy of sweating, and racing for the thrill of breathlessness. I turn the page on my third century, and I look forward to running a few thousand miles while writing the next hundred columns.

© 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 TrackMeets.com, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at jabbour@i2sports.com.

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