The judge tossed his black robe on the nearest rack, bounded down the steps to the snack bar two floors below in the Fairfax County Courthouse and ordered a meat beef on pumpernickel, potato chips, a chocolate bar and a Coke to go. Then he bounded back up the steps to his chambers.

Considering the demeanor normally expected of a man of his estate, this judge's chambers are unreal. The room is bright; no heroic portraits of venerable jurists glare down. Instead there are brilliant Olympic posters of Kip Kelno, Steve Prefontaine and Jim Ryun, all world-class distance runners.

Here and there are trophies, miniature monuments to the judge's athletic prowess. Trappings of his black-robed judicial world are conspicuously absent; bright racing colors abound.

Unruffled by his dash to the snack bar, the judge takes lunch at his desk. He is eager, even excited, to talk about running.

"This rushing and eating those calorie-packed quick lunches at your desk does not seem to be a good way for a runner to keep in shape," he is told.

It's a foolish assertion. At age 40, Judge Richard Jamborsky of the 19th Circuit Court of Virginia does not look a week over 30. He is trim at 5 feet 7 1/2 inches and 135 pounds, clearly in remarkable physical shape.

"It's really not a problem," the judge says. "I need these calories. I'll work them off the next time I run." And the next time he runs is always soon. He's on the road almost every day, clocking 40 to 70 miles a week.

And if Jamborsky is training for a specific race he will intensify his schedule, run 10 to 12 miles daily to accumulate those 70 miles. Right now he is preparing for his sixth appearance in the Boston marathon on Monday - Patriot's Day. If he is running for fun, which is more often the case, he will cover five to six miles a day. On either schedule he needs and burns a lot of calories.

Dr. Robert Johnson of the University of Illinois, in a study of athletes, reported that a runner traveling 10 miles an hour will burn 900 calories in that hour. That is just about the pace Jamborsky maintains, to any calories over normal basic needs are not going to add to his avoirdupois. And it will be that way for a long time. He plans to run at least until he's 70.

Jamborsky has been running since 1971, at first just to get in shape. Now the sport has captured him.

He ran his first Boston marathon - the grisky 26 miles and 385 yards from Hopkinton to Kenmore Square - in 1972, finishing in 3 hours 9 minutes.

"To finish in my first try filled me with a great sense of accomplishment," he said. But he knew he could beat that time if he prepared himself and set his goal at breaking the three-hour mark. He did.

By 1975 he was running the marathon in [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and in his [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] last November he run the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Marine Corps Marathon here in [WORD ILLEGIBLE] finishing a respectable 29th in a field of 1,000. He hopes to do better still in Boston.

Jamborsky has been competing in races sponsored by the Washington Road Runners Club and plans to run for the newly formed National Capital Track Club. This athletic involvement is all a novelty. He did not participate in competitive sports in either high school or college.

"Running is a fun thing to do," he said. "It's not a lonely activity even if one runs by himself. It gives me a chance to think. But I especially like to run with my friends and neighbors in Reston because then it becomes a social and highly pleasurable activity.

"Long-distance running, particularly the marathon, is not the grueling, painful sport some say it is. Eric Segal, whom I admire, and Dr. George Sheehan (noted cardiologist) like to impute some mystique to long-distance runners, making a mystery of the motivation and drive which prompts runners to punish themselves.

"It's not all that punishing and torturous, and there is really nothing mystifying about long-distance running. It is just plain simple fun, and anyone who has the time to get in shape can get great personal pleasure out of it without aches and pains . . .

"Running in the clean, fresh air is a sort of cleansing process; the cobwebs are flushed from your mind. Yes, I do think over some difficult and confusing court cases. Away from the courtroom I frequently see the issues and arguments in clearer perspective.

"The most fun in competitive running is in overcoming self-limitation, not in whether you win or place. You ask yourself, can I do it?You set a goal and achieve it, proving to yourself you can do it. Whenever I break the 2-hour 40-minute mark for the marathon, I consider that a personal victory, a tremendous source of accomplishment and personal satisfaction."

The judge, who has served in the county's juvenile court system for seven years, wondered aloud if running would not sometimes help as a character builder for some of the "young lost souls" he has sentenced to reformatories.

Here he may find himself in disagreement with author James A. Michener, who wrote in his recently published Sports in America, ". . . I am more impressed with sports as a developer of health than as a developer of character."

"I understand what Michener is saying" Jamborsky said. "He is talking about developing character. I'm talking about salvaging character. Basically these juveniles lack self-confidence and a sense of personal achievement. They become losers and are easily tempted into of life of crime."

Would he prescribe as part of an offender's sentence or rehabilitation program a regimen of jogging?

"I've been tempted to," the judge said, "but I fear there are those who would construe this as cruel and unusual punishment."