Running to the Edge: A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed

Running to the Edge: A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed

by Matthew Futterman

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"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 quest for championships, Olympic glory, and pursuit of "the epic run."

In 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 quest 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 more 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 quest 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 protégé, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385543750
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 136,350
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

MATTHEW FUTTERMAN is Deputy Sports Editor of the New York Times. He has previously worked for The Wall Street Journal, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Star-Ledger of New Jersey, where he was a part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News in 2005. Like a lot of sportswriters, he is something of a frustrated athlete, who is still smarting from going 0-8 in singles his senior year at Union College. He blames a formerly weak psyche and sub-optimal serve. He grew up in Larchmont, New York, and graduated from Mamaroneck High School, Union College and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He also attended the creative writing program at the University of Arkansas. He lives in New York with his wife and children. In his spare time he runs marathons. He is not sure why.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Athens, Greece, August 29, 2004 1


Bobcat 7

Why We Run 18

East Hampton, New York, September 2015 39

The First Horse: Ed Mendoza 44

Larchmont and Mamaroneck, New York, November 1979, September 1985 57

Another Piece for CBL: Tom Lux 61

Schenectady, New York, 1991 74

The Outlier: Terry Cotton 76

Peace and War 83

Fayetteville, Arkansas, 1992 95

The Birth of the Toads 97

September 7, 1996, Central Park, New York 113

The Jamul Toads 116

Hamptons Marathon, the last 13.1, September 2015 126

1976 129


Can We Be Fast Again? 159

New York City, November 2013 176

Higher 178

Spring 2016 193

Up High 195

The Road to Athens 208

Harvey Cedars, New Jersey, August 2017 232

Fall and Rise 234

New York, November 2016 243

Back to the Edge 245

Right on Hereford. Left on Boylston. 263

Onward 272

A Note on Sourcing 279

Acknowledgments 281

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