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Who the hell is Thaddeus Kosciuszko?

Posted by George Parker on
<b>Who the hell is Thaddeus Kosciuszko?</b>

When you think of U.S. national parks, expansive places like Yellowstone come to mind. But did you know the tiniest national park is Thaddeus Kosciuszko's house, occupying just 0.02 acres in Philadelphia? Bear with me, and I'll show how this connects back to running.

Thaddeus Kosciuszko was a Polish military engineer and a hero of the American Revolutionary War. Born in 1746, Kosciuszko volunteered to fight for American independence and played a crucial role in designing and fortifying military defenses, including the pivotal fortifications at West Point. His expertise and dedication significantly contributed to the success of the American cause, earning him the rank of Brigadier General. Kosciuszko's importance extends beyond his military achievements. He was a passionate advocate for human rights, including the abolition of slavery. After the war, he returned to Poland and led a national uprising against foreign domination, striving for his homeland's freedom and sovereignty. You can find statues of Kosciuszko in Boston and Chicago. New York City boasts the Kosciuszko Bridge. There's also Kosciusko, Miss. (Oprah Winfrey's hometown), and Kosciusko County, Ind., both without the "z." You can even find Kosciusko-brand mustard. All these are named after Thaddeus Kosciuszko, as is Australia's highest mountain.

Why don't more people know about Thaddeus Kosciuszko? The consensus among U.S. historians is that his name is hard to pronounce.

That's the thing about hard things. Hard things get skipped because they are, well, hard.

We know about hard things as runners. Still, we shy away from them because they are hard (I'll raise my hand for strength training and core work.) Zone 2 running is terrific, but we all know we need Zone 4 and 5 race paces. Hard things are hard, but often, that's the reason they are worth doing. Thankfully, Thaddeus Kosciuszko didn't shy away from hard things. Oh, and here's how you say his name: ko-SHCH-OO-SH-ko.

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