A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed
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.
“"Running to the Edge reveals the untold history of how a determined coach and his motley crew of underdogs practically defibrillated U.S. distance running. It is at once a beautiful meditation on effort and a tale as captivating and suspenseful as a great race." --David Epstein, New York Times bestselling author of The Sports Gene "Running To The Edge is at its heart a vivid, fascinating and affectionate portrait of a man who changed the sport of running in America, and of the sport that changed him. Through the story of a pioneer coach, Bob Larsen, Matt Futterman deftly describes both the running boom era of the 1970s and 1980s, and the resurgence of American distance-running talent in the aughts. I can't think of a runner who wouldn't enjoy this book." --Ed Caesar, author of Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon "Futterman chronicles plenty of thrills and spills, as well as the inevitable disappointments, on the road to winning Olympic squads and marathon champions . . . Athletes in any sport stand to learn from Larsen's methods, and Futterman turns in a fluent yarn reminiscent of Plimpton and McPhee." --Kirkus “An inspirational road map for runners . . . Fast-paced . . . New York Times sports editor Futterman enthusiastically documents the life of renowned American running coach Bob Larsen. Throughout, Futterman makes physiology easily understandable and shares his own story of qualifying for and competing in his dream race: the 2018 Boston Marathon.” --Publishers Weekly "[M]asterful . . . Readers eager for a compelling underdog sports story are sure to enjoy this account, as many will see themselves in the band of 'misfits' Futterman profiles, young rebels who formed the infamous San Diego–based running club, the Jamul Toads." --Booklist "A captivating narrative. Futterman gives us an informative history of American distance running while telling a fascinating story about a group of unconventional San Diegan boys who unexpectedly competed for a national cross country championship in 1976 against the well-established major running clubs. Futterman profiles a young coach Bob Larsen, who was developing training methods that would later turn UCLA into a national running powerhouse, and help lead Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor to become Olympic marathon medal winners." --Bill Pierce, co-author of Run Less, Run Faster "At the core, running is about pushing one’s self to the limit. Matthew Futterman’s Running to the Edge is a fascinating account of Bob Larsen’s journey to uncover the secrets of optimal run training, initially for himself and then for his runners. The story is riveting. If you love running this book will knock your shoes off--highly recommended!" --Jordan D. Metzl, MD, author of Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Running Strong “Matt Futterman’s definitive examination of this primal human sport--distance running--richly serves a subject he knows intimately and rewards the reader with a captivating ride. This is a classic American underdog tale, populated by appealing oddballs, in search of answers to an age-old mystery: Why do we run? Running to the Edge takes you right where it promises it go." --Mark Frost, author of The Match, and creator of “Twin Peaks” "Many running fans know about marathon star Meb Keflezighi and perhaps even about his longtime coach, Bob Larsen. But few have heard about Larsen's life and coaching before Meb. That's the story told for the first time in Running to the Edge, a tale about the ragtag, improbably named "Jamul Toads" running club, and how Larsen's training methods turned the toads into national-class ga”