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Running to the Edge Gripping the narrative is smooth and immediate almost effortless in its detail if occasionally breathless like a good fast run The New York Times Book Review Visionary American running coach Bob Larsen assembled a mismatched team of elite California runners the start of his decades long uest for championships Olympic glory and pursuit of the epic runIn the dusty hills above San Diego Bob Larsen became America's greatest running coach Starting with a ragtag group of high school cross country and track runners Larsen set out on a decades long uest to find the secret of running impossibly fast for longer distances than anyone thought possible Himself a former farm boy who fell into his track career by accident Larsen worked through coaching high school junior college and college coaxing talented runners away from traditional sports as the running craze was in its infancy in the 60's and 70's On the arid trails and windy roads of California Larsen relentlessly sought the 'secret sauce' of speed and endurance that would catapult American running onto the national stage Running to the Edge is a riveting account of Larsen's journey and his uest to discover the unorthodox training secrets that would lead American runners elite and recreational to breakthroughs never imagined New York Times Deputy Sports Editor Matthew Futterman interweaves the dramatic stories of Larsen's runners with a fascinating discourse of the science behind human running as well as a personal running narrative that follows Futterman's own checkered love affair with the sport The result is a narrative that will speak to every runner a story of Larsen's triumphs from high school cross country meets to the founding of the cult favorite 70's running group the Jamul Toads from national championships to his long tenure as head coach at UCLA and from the secret training regimen of world champion athletes like Larsen's protg American Meb Keflezighi to victories at the New York and Boston Marathons as well as the Olympics Running to the Edge is a page turner a relentless crusade to run faster farther Excellent book This was a frustrating read for me The book had the potential for greatness Futterman examines what it takes to be a great distance runner why American distance runners were successful in the 1970's declined to a nadir by the early 2000's and are now enjoying a renaissance He uses running coach Bob Larsen as the starting point for his narrative arc The problem is that Futterman basically rehashes a bunch of material from other running books sort of like a mixtape There's bits and pieces from books by Deena Kastor Meb Kehflezighi Frank Shorter Phil Knight etc The narrative doesn't really cohere Futterman spends significant time discussing some obscure distance runners from the San Diego area in the 1970's and then midway through those guys are dropped and the book becomes a digested version of the Meb biography Bob Larsen becomes almost a supporting character in a book that is ostensibly about him Interspersed throughout the book are Futterman's personal running vignettes which were not interesting and shared no commonality with the larger narrative of the book Futterman's third party omniscient you are there narrative set my teeth on edge If you are looking for a good running book of recent vintage check out Deena Kastor's Let Your Mind Run Drawing a direct line from coaching high school students to Olympic medalists and Boston Marathon winners NYT sports editor Matthew Futterman tells the story of coach Bob Larsen and his efforts to unlock the secrets of running far fast Thanks to a deft fast paced writing style and especially great characterizations that bring unheralded high schoolers to life just as vividly as national champions this is the best book on running since Christopher McDougall's Born to Run While the subject matter here is distance running be prepared to read this in a sprint Loved this exploration of coach Bob Larsen's training methods So well written it reads like a novel My only uibble and it's a minor one is the author's own story interspersed throughout the book Fortunately those sections are short and don't distract much from the rest of the book which is really interesting My full review

  • Hardcover
  • 304 pages
  • Running to the Edge
  • Matthew Futterman
  • 05 August 2015
  • 9780385543743

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