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Clinton’s on the Fast Track at the White House

April 7, 1993

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton’s custom-built White House track is finally ready for presidential jogs.

″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.

The White House has not released a list of contributors.

The track will allow Clinton to take his regular jogs without being tailed by a motorcade and tying up rush-hour traffic. White House spokeswoman Dee Dee Myers has said Clinton will continue to run outside the White House grounds, but perhaps not as much with the new track.

He did not jog at all this morning, the White House said.

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. The extra cushion will be easier on Clinton’s legs than running on cement sidewalks and streets, said Joe DiGeronimo, the Sturbridge, Mass., designer of the system.

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

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