A cost operations analyst for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration had devised a method to beat the bus to work without expending any fuel while improving his health and getting into a proper frame of mind for a productive day on the job.
Every morning, Tony Diamond, 48, trots from his home at 4200 Cathedral Ave. NW, runs through Glover Archibold Park, proceeds along the C&O Canal into Rock Creek Park, moves down past the Kennedy Center to the Lincoln Memorial and makes it to be Mall and Nasa headquarters at 600 Independence Ave. SW generally three minuted ahead of the bus.
Diamond runs on a combination of walking trails and bike paths, and seldom challegnes Washington's snarled downtown traffic. After a shower and a quick change of clothes, he is ready to put in a full day of trying to save money for the nation's space program.
"I cross only five major intersections and it's very scenic," he said. He admitted he finished in a dead heat with the bus when returning home because the run is uphill. "It takes me only 42 minutes to get to work. It's actually faster than taking a bus.
The initiator and chairman of the National Amateur Athletic Union masters (over-40) long-distance program, Diamond has been instrumental in the formation of running programs in NASA and other government orgainizations. He also held many clinics for adults and children in the Washington area on the art of distance running.
Diamond is the originator of the NASA Intercenter Postal Jogging Program, which twice yearly holds two-and four-mile races around a quarter-mile track at each of NASA's 10 centers in the country. Since 171 runners turned out for the first event in June 1976, the program has grown to 500 participants last April and Diamond expects at least 800 or 900 competitors for the October get-together this year.
He also created the Federal Interagency Jogging Council in 1973. On the third Wednesday of each month members of 50 Washington-based government agencies meet to race once (a distance of 3,000 meters) or twice around the Tidal Basin.
Diamond feels the added exercise is necessary because more and more of America's work force is moving to desk jobs.
"The jobs most of us have at NASA are sedentary . . ." said Diamond, a Buffalo native who has worked here for NASA for 15 years. "It's a job with a slow death. We see many of our compatriots are in the 30s and 40s and having heart attacks."
In the past several, Diamond, along with several other distance runners, has held three marathon workshops at the Cleveland Park Library at Connecticut Avenue and Macomb Street NW. When the Boston Marathon rolled around last April, the Washington-area contingent had increased approximately 300 per cent from an estimated 50 to 150 runners, Diamond said, though he credited much of that to Georgetown University's Jack Fultz's victory in the race in 1976.
"What people don't realize is anybody can run a marathon," said Diamond of the 26-mile, 385-yard race.
He is always talking up the sport, promoting interest," said Ed Barron, preisdent of the Potomac Valley Seniors running club and a running companion of Diamond.
Diamond said the key to interesting new runners is to de-emphasize the competitive aspect. "If you tell someone to come out to run or race, it will turn them right off," said Diamond, who maintains the same 5-foot-7, 140 pound frame he had in high scholl. "You've got to do it through the guise of physical fitness and good health.
Yet Diamond remains a competitive runner. Having now run the Boston Marathon seven times, he hd the distinction in 1974 of running a faster marathon than he had 20 years earlier. In 1954, Diamond finished 12th in the race with a clocking of 2:41.51. In 1974, he clocked 2:44.03 for the present, longer, 26-mile, 385-yard distance though he finished only 378 th.
He is always traveling somewhere to race. On a recent weekend he drove to Reading, Pa., for a half-marathon (13.1 miles) and went to Baltimore's Edgewood Arsenal for a five-mile race.
Diamond is also one of at least a half-dozen Washingtonians planning to make the trek to the International Masters Track and Field Meet Aug. 8-13 in Goeteborg, Sweden.
Diamond brings his wife Irene and his 11-month-old son Brian to many of his races. He has converted his wife into a runner and she lectures at some of his clinics on her expertise, nutritional training.
Diamond also eagerly awaits the day when Brian can accompany them on family jogs." He's ready to begin," said Diamond. "He's standing now."