“It’s hurting every day a little bit, and a little more on Saturday.” - Mark Wetmore, CU Coach

Running with the Buffaloes is an account of the CU men’s 1998 Cross Country season, including their fastest Adam Goucher. He was kind of big deal at the time. Their coach Mark Wetmore is still a big deal. He continues to coach the squad and is one of the most consistently successful collegiate coaches [1].

Author Chris Lear is clearly a runner first, writer second. I struggled to keep up with all the athletes and progress, particular when mixed with a lot of scene-specific jargon (“Big 12”, NCAA, etc). The language was often clunky. If you were involved in college running yourself, you’ll have a much easier time following along.

But the raw material is strong. It kept me turning pages. It got me out running.

The book culminates in the NCAA championship race. (By now I’ve figured out this is the National Collegiate Athletic Association.) This is a standout chapter. Running is a sport that lends itself to writing, and Lear out does himself here. Will Goucher take the crown in his final year? Will the team clean it up? I don’t recommend reading before bed.

This book got me amped up to run, which is really the main thing I want out of a running book. With the squad all running up near 100 mile weeks, my 30 started feeling pretty inadequate. Well, it’ll be 40 next week!

“In football, you might get your bell rung, but you go in with the expectation that you might get hurt, and you hope to win and come out unscathed. As a distance runner, you know you’re going to get your bell rung. Distance runners are experts at pain, discomfort, and fear. You’re not coming away feeling good. It’s a matter of how much pain you can deal with on those days. It’s not a strategy. It’s just a callusing of the mind and body to deal with discomfort. Any serious runner bounces back. That’s the nature of their game. Taking pain.”

[1] http://www.runnersworld.com/college-training/mark-wetmore-some-is-tradition-some-is-brand-new yeah I’m quoting Runner’s World as a primary source deal with it.

Cover image for Running with the Buffaloes