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World-class runners Roger Robinson and Kathrine Switzer to speak on the legends and literature of the sport during Oct. 15 visit to Syracuse University
World-class runners Roger Robinson and Kathrine Switzer to speak on the legends and literature of the sport during Oct. 15 visit to Syracuse UniversityOctober 13, 2003Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Appearance is part of the nationwide launch of Robinson’s new book on the history of running as a literary subject
Author Roger Robinson and his wife, legendary runner and Syracuse University alumna Kathrine Switzer will visit Syracuse University Oct. 15 to speak on “The Message from Marathon: Great Moments in the Legends and Literature of Running.” The presentation begins at 5 p.m. at the Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center.
The presentation, which is free and open to the public, is part of the nationwide launch of Robinson’s book “Running in Literature: A Guide for Scholars, Readers, Runners, Joggers and Dreamers “(Breakaway Books), the first history of running as a literary subject. Robinson will sign copies of the book following the presentation.
“Running in Literature” takes a new approach to running and to literature, showcasing running as an important element in books from the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, to the novels of James Joyce and Thomas Hardy, to modern American works. Robinson brings to life the runners of every period of literature-even the ancient Greeks are shown not as idealized figures in polished marble but as real runners who are competitive, elated when they win and capable of getting tired.
“Everyone has heard of the ‘unforgiving minute,’ ‘the athlete dying young’ and “Rejoice, we conquer,’ but no one has explained what they mean and what they tell us about running,” Robinson says.
The book has earned high praise from notable people both in the running world and the literary field. Julia Emmons, director of Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race, calls the book “a masterful guide that crackles with wit and intelligence.”
Robinson, senior professor of English at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, is a world-class runner, having set age-group records at the Boston and New York Marathons. He is a senior writer for Running Times and a columnist for New Zealand Runner for 23 years.
He is also a noted author, and his recent publications include the “Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature” (Oxford University Press, 1998, edited by Robinson) and “Robert Louis Stevenson: His Best Pacific Writings” (Bess Press Inc., 2003).
Switzer is a pioneer in women’s running. An SU junior in 1967, she entered the Boston Marathon-which at that time officially excluded women–under the name “K. Switzer.” She was nearly pulled out of the race by an official, until a friend intervened and she finished the race (although her time was never officially recorded).
Switzer graduated from SU in 1968 with a dual degree in English and journalism, and received a master’s degree from the Newhouse School in 1972. A veteran of dozens of marathons, she worked with Avon to create a circuit of 400 women-only races in 27 countries.
With women’s running established as a sport by the Avon circuit, Switzer led the campaign to make the women’s marathon an official Olympic event (it debuted at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles). Switzer has also had a successful career as a sports commentator, covering races and marathons for ABC, NBC, CBS and Turner Sports Broadcasting. She is the author of a best-selling book, “Running and Walking for Women Over Forty” (St. Martin’s Press, 1998).
The Oct. 15 event is presented by The College of Arts and Sciences and co-sponsored by the Department of English and the Department of Athletics. Contact Deborah Armstrong in The College of Arts and Sciences at 443-9165 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.