The Archive Bin

Fast Women

Sara Schwald, Penn Relays 2001

Ten or twelve years ago (it is 2018 now) I occasionally archived full websites that fascinated me. I’m glad I did, because some of these have largely vanished from the interwebz.

One of them was Fast Women, a New York Road Runners website that celebrated female athletes, mainly young middle-distance track stars. NYRR may have this information still hidden away as a remote link to their main site, but I have been unable to find it. The domain now hosts a kayak club in Indonesia!

Anyway, below are some typical articles from Fast Women. (The full list of interviews may be found here.) I┬áthink I was most impressed by the first one, on Sara Schwald. I noticed she was wearing the original Nike Zoom W spikes, in the “Suzy Favor Hamilton” white-and-green colorway (see pic). I became obsessed with obtaining some for myself, and eventually found a mint pair…but only wore them once, for an indoor 800m race around 2007. Among other articles here I list one with Suzy Favor Hamilton herself, from back when she was an Olympian calendar girl and untainted by scandal.

Stephen Serenelli’s Cancer Experience

By his early 40s, Stephen Serenelli had made a successful life for himself as a photographer and commercial-website provider in the mid-sized city of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. This Italian-British-Canadian was a very active fellow, a devotee of marathons and Ironman triathlons. When he found he had bowel cancer, he treated it as another adventure, and provided friends and fans with a detailed diary of his progress and treatments.

Within a couple of years he was dead, alas, and probably nothing could have saved him. The tumors spread from his bowels to his liver. To his dismay, he entered his final months of palliative care with a colostomy stoma (which he dutifully photographed and published on his site).

Early on, when he was still treating the illness as an interesting lark, he decided to forgo normal cancer therapy and go for naturopathic treatments instead. He returned to conventional medicine, but by then it was too late. A few weeks before Stephen died, the naturopath dropped him an email asking him how he was doing. Stephen’s reply, in one of his last diary entries, is bitterly sarcastic.

At the outset, he called his cancer website “A Journey Back to Health.” I find it somehow admirable, and indicative of the man’s self-possession, that he didn’t bother to change this horridly ironical title in the last weeks of his earthly existence.