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Archive for Saturday, October 27, 2001

KU professor runs in China

Daldorph first American finisher in Beijing Marathon

October 27, 2001

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Brian Daldorph loves to run in marathons. And Daldorph, an assistant professor of English at Kansas University, loves to travel.

Why not, then, go all the way to China for the Beijing Marathon?

Commitments. That's why not.

The Beijing Marathon is in mid-October and Daldorph teaches three classes at KU as well as a creative writing class at the Lawrence Arts Center. Not to mention the youth soccer team he coaches.

But Daldorph went anyway.

"I had to call in a lot of favors," he said. "I had to get people to take my classes, run my soccer team and take care of my cats."

Daldorph, 43, was the first American to finish. He was 203rd and was clocked in three hours, nine minutes and 40 seconds. A native of Great Britain, Daldorph was the first American finisher because he became a U.S. citizen two months ago.

"It was rather an easy test," Daldorph said. "I think my 10-year-old daughter would have done quite well on it."

After a 14-hour flight from Chicago to Beijing, Daldorph did quite well in the marathon.

"Most of the race was on the main road around Beijing," Daldorph said. "It was supposed to be a flat course, but there were a lot of overpasses and underpasses, so it wasn't as flat as they said."

The race began in Tiananmen Square, site of the bloody student riots in 1989, and ended at the Olympics Sports Complex, the main venue of the 2008 Olympic Games.

"I was really fascinated by Tiananmen Square," Daldorph said. "It's the showcase of the city. It's like a festival. There are people partying and people flying kites. But one night the Army came and cleared everybody out. It reminded me of 1989."

Daldorph has run in marathons in Japan and England. He has also run in Kansas City twice and three times he has been a participant in the Boston Marathon.

"I've done Boston and I don't want to keep doing it," he said. "I'm hoping to run in the Rekyavik Marathon some day, and I'd also like to run in the one in Prague. I've always wanted to go to Czechoslovakia."

In the meantime, Daldorph will continue to train by running on the streets and sidewalks of Lawrence. And in his spare time, Daldorph will continue to compose poetry. He has already had six books of poems published.

Sports editor Chuck Woodling can be reached at 832-7147.

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