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Summary

"Gripping...he 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 60s and 70s. 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 pause-resister...a relentless crusade to run faster, farther.

©2019 Matthew Futterman (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"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)

"Packed with valuable knowledge elegantly conveyed, Running to the Edge is an inspiring and eye-opening look into the evolution of the distance running tradition. Matthew Futterman beautifully translates his passion and curiosity for running into a book that speaks to runners of all abilities." (Alexi Pappas, distance runner and star of Tracktown)

"Running to the Edge reveals the untold history of how a determined coach and his motley crew of underdogs practically defibrillated US 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 best-selling author of The Sports Gene)  

What listeners say about Running to the Edge

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Didn't get it

was a struggle as didn't really get it. just jumped from one athlete to another and the common ground was the trainer. still don't know what it was supposed to be about!

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a book that give me chills few times

for long time I didn't enjoyed book like I did with this 1. literally this book give me chills few times and even i let some tears for joy, happiness, companion. definitely book for every distance runner, for everyone that losing motivation for running or enjoy every run! performance and audio is fantastic. i highly likely this book

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Great first half, good second half.

Great first half, good second half. Seemed to slow a bit around the middle, but picked up again. Enjoyable book

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  • cfinedell
  • 01-04-20

Well worth the listen

I love reading and listening to running books. Everything from the Once a Runner trilogy to Born to Run to Jurek's books. This one fits right in there.

3 people found this helpful

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  • RDR
  • 19-12-19

For the runners

It’s one book that I will recommend for all runners. It’s only about running and no BS page filling details about the brushing or coffee they drank. I loved it. Will listen to it again soon.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Adrian Flores
  • 03-06-20

Great positive and motivating story!!!

great story especially if you're a runner or even a casual runner or maybe just a driven individual. I increased the narration by .50 and felt it read better that way, but do what you feel. I tried going back to normal speed and it seemed clunky to me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. Roberts
  • 06-03-20

A book of the runner's long resume.

TO ME, It seems to be race records, injuries, schools and blah blah...... next to another. It is disappointing and boring. I finally quit in the middle of chapter 23. I didn't get to the "UNLOCK" ing chapter.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Samuel Kachikoti
  • 11-11-20

Enjoyable listening

Great story telling. Could visualize what was being told without having ever having been to some of the places

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  • Shannon Clay
  • 07-11-20

Wow!!

As a new runner in my 50’s Meb has given me hope and motivation!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-10-20

More of a narrative than a book on training methods

This book provided a decent story about the history of one of America’s top running coaches, but it doesn’t provide much information for someone looking to gain information on training. The author keeps repeating the phrase “running on the edge”, which is just the author’s way of saying that the runners were doing tempo runs. Bob Larsen was ahead of his time when he had his runners doing tempo runs back in the 70s when most coaches were only doing high intensity intervals, but it seems that Bob’s coaching style is pretty common now. The book does provide some nice history of the long distance running scene in the U.S. over the last 40+ years.

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  • Momof5sweeties
  • 24-09-20

Inspirational!

Being one who loves running and hearing about others success and how they got there, this book was perfect for me! I now have a new desire to push harder in my running to achieve what I believe I can. Thanks Matthew for writing this book!

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  • Christine
  • 07-09-20

Inspiring

Excellent history of the great Bob Larson and his elite athletes. Must read for any runner - great inspiration during those long runs!

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  • Chloe123
  • 25-07-20

LOVED it!

excellent narration and writing. I loved the mix of the author's personal journey with running with Larson's story and relentless belief in his training concepts. listened to 90% of it while running and it was a perfect book for that.