I was a teenager during the Clinton administration, so I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to the news, but I do remember hearing about the President’s habit of running a few times a week. From what I understood, it wasn’t uncommon for Presidents to run to stay in shape and deal with stress, but it never occurred to me what a Secret Service issue it was!
According to former Agent Dan Emmett, they had a hard time finding agents who could protect the President while he was out running:
Clinton jogged about three days a week, for no more than 37 minutes, and Emmett remembers it being a challenge to find Secret Service agents who could cover the jog with the president, carry a weapon and a radio, and still remain alert enough to protect him.
“Secret Service agents are generally fit, but we had to come up with a group of agents who were capable of running with the president. You couldn’t just run and look at the ground. We needed people with reserve energy to be able to fight if need be.”
Another issue that arose was the sheer number of random runners who wanted to join the president and Clinton’s willingness to let them.
“He was very open. We were very wary of that,” Emmett says. “We were concerned about what they really wanted to do. We would close in very tightly around him.”
I never considered the logistical nightmare involved in covering a running person, but it makes sense. You’d need someone who could run a few minutes per mile FASTER than the President as their easy, “I could do this all day” pace. Basically, running with the President needed to be so gentle on the Agent that they’d have no problem running while pulling a gun. For the record, I can’t run and drink water simultaneously, so I am in awe of anyone who can handle a weapon while running!
The entire book looks pretty interesting! Unfortunately, it’s not available as a Kindle title, but if you’re curious about the various issues the Secret Service have to face in the line of duty, you can check out Within Arm’s Length by Dan Emmett at Amazon!
Via US News via