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Jogging Track Designed Specifically for First Jogger With Photo

April 7, 1993

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton’s just-finished jogging track at the White House is custom-built with a springy surface to cushion the First Jogger’s aging joints, according to the designer.

″It’s not designed for the president of the United States,″ said Joe DiGeronimo of Sturbridge, Mass.. ″It’s designed for a 46-year-old person who happens to be the president of the United States.″

Construction, which began Feb. 12, ended this weekend, but the crew did not finish cleaning up the area until Tuesday. Clinton has not jogged on the track yet.

″We’re all headed home today,″ said Rusty Abell, of Sport Rec, the Lubbock, Texas, contractor that built the track.

″It was a 12-day job that turned into a 60-day job because of the bad weather,″ he said.

It also was a minor political embarrassment for Clinton, who was caught off guard when aides hurriedly pushed through his request to have the track built. The president said he wanted the track constructed with private contributions, but work began before a penny was raised.

The White House set up a fund to accept donations and quickly raised the necessary $20,000. The cost of the track is about $30,000, but some material and labor were donated.

Despite repeated requests, the White House has not released a list of contributors.

Clinton, who jogs about 20 miles a week, is expected to continue his practice of jogging in public. But the track will give him the chance to jog occasionally without being tailed by a motorcade and tying up rush-hour traffic.

The spongy, 5-foot wide track was built with 2 inches of recycled tires, covered by a layer of recycled windshield gaskets, which don’t rot in the rain.

It is flush with the White House South Lawn driveway and is designed to hold 20,000 pounds of limousines, fire trucks and other automobiles, Abell said.

The track is so springy that a one-pound steel ball, thrown 10-feet in the air, bounces easily into Abell’s hands, he said. The extra cushion will be easier on Clinton’s legs than running on cement sidewalks and streets, he said.

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