Teacher Feature: Mr.K, the runner

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Mr. K (3) pc Fran
Photo by Fran Horowitz.

Chemistry teacher Adel Kadamani, fondly known as Mr. K, can often be seen running laps on the Queens College track when he is not in the classroom or laboratory.

Mr. K’s rigorous training consists of running every day, which totals 20-40 miles per week, as well as lifting weights three times a week at the gym. Mr. K likes that students see him running on the track, but he has noticed that they “put so much effort into running one mile. It’s good that they run but what they really need to do is run five miles.”

Mr. K ran track and played soccer at his high school in Lebanon. As a senior, he would run on the outskirts of the city with his friends, admiring the mountain view.

He still enjoys that same feeling when he goes for his frequent 4:30 A.M. runs. “It makes me happy to feel the elements of nature: the air, the wind, the hot and the cold, and that good feeling of moving forward and my feet hitting the ground. I like how my body feels; it shakes out the old and brings in the new.”

Running also reminds Mr. K of his service time in the army during the Lebanese Civil War. When he sees the moon in the early morning, it takes him back to when he kept watch at night: “I would see the moonlight and it would illuminate the trees. Everything was quiet; I felt a part of that place.”

After running in the New York City marathon three times, Mr. K has two favorite parts of the 26.2 mile course. One is exiting the Bronx and heading into Manhattan after crossing the Madison Avenue Bridge. There, he is greeted by volunteers who provide encouragement with their high-fives and pats on the back as the runners approach the finish line in Central Park.

The second is mile 14, which marks where Mr. K is cheered on by the trackies of Townsend Harris who volunteer at the marathon every year.

Mr. K trained for this year’s marathon by running four marathons over the summer. However, he got sick the Monday before, and—Dayquil and Nyquil failing him—he was unable to run on Sunday, November 3.

Mr. K was disappointed, but he is now more determined to get his time under four hours next year. His previous best time was four hours and twenty-six minutes in 2009. In 2010 and 2011, he ran five hours and fourteen minutes and five hours and two minutes, respectively.

He was also unable to run last year’s marathon after it was cancelled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. However, he understood the circumstances, saying, “They cancelled it for a good reason: to help those who needed the resources.”

Mr. K is ready to get back into the swing of things and prepare for next year. In less than twelve months, Mr. K will be running in the marathon for the first time since 2011, and will hopefully break under four hours.

Mr. K has no problem covering long distances. He compares it to “listening to a good song that you don’t want to finish: it’s a good feeling and you don’t want it to end.”

Even if he is tired or the weather does not cooperate, he tells himself, “If I start, I must finish. I become that much more motivated and challenged to reach my goal for that run.”