the runner

In the first days of the trip I learned that using my name when meeting a stranger somehow seemed to help.  Having introduced myself by name on my homepage, I’ll expand on the introduction here.

I spent most of the first two decades of my life at schools where my parents worked.  My father, a gifted natural athlete, was a coach who became an athletic director and teacher, while my mother, who loved books, was a librarian who became a dean.  A bookish kid, I never distinguished myself at sports – though I tried – and, after a gap year at school in England, I ended up at Princeton enjoying the peculiar distinction of being an engineer who served as Class Poet.

Upon graduation I went to work for IBM in New York and began distance running. Perhaps fueled by the frustration of being a woefully inept college soccer player, I soon qualified for the Boston and New York marathons, completing both of them within a year of my first short road race.  Not long afterwards, my dreams of marathon glory led me to hatch the crazy idea of running an unsupported, unsponsored solo lap around the perimeter of the continental United States – simply following the seasons for 10,000 miles, allowing myself only one night per month in a motel room.  Setting out from my parents’ house in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, one sparkling morning in August of 1979, I had the highest of hopes