Format Hardcover
Publication Date 08/06/19
ISBN 9781643130798
Trim Size / Pages 9.3 x 6.3 in / 336

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Amazing Racers

The Story of America's Greatest Running Team and its Revolutionary Coach

Marc Bloom

The inspiring, untold story about a group of remarkable athletes and their groundbreaking coach who live and train in startling ways—and are redefining running excellence in the United States.

What would one call taking teens with no evident running talent and challenging them with boundless hill training combined with mantras from rock ‘n’ roll, techniques from Kenya, philosophy from Australia, and turning them into champions? Is it revolutionary? Or a risky rebellion against running—and teenage—norms? Coach Bill Aris has heard both, but one thing is indisputable. Everything Aris does with his runners—male and female alike—is new and extraordinary, and he has created a new American running dynasty. The cross-country runners of Fayetteville-Manlius, or F-M, in upstate New York have dominated high school running for 15 years, sweeping boys’ and girls’ titles at the Nike Cross Nationals championships (NXN) in 2014 in an unprecedented achievement. The girls’ team, empowered by Aris’ unique, unwavering brand of gender equity, has won 11 of the last 13 NXN titles, some by margins of over 100 points. The boys’ team has the best cumulative national record of NXN podium performances. F-M domination has shocked the sport for its defiance of accepted running principles and limitations. One year at NXN, the F-M girls defeated the all-star field of top teams by an average of 59 seconds per girl in the 5k race. Another year, the girls ran faster than their teenage Kenyan counterparts, who competed in the Portland, Oregon event as an international showcase. Across the country, coaches awed by F-M and unaware of the team’s methods and discoveries, whispered, “How do they do it?” From adopting long-forgotten “Stotan” creeds—combining the rigors of a Spartan and stoic lifestyle—to delving into teenage developmental psychology and gender-blindness in training, Amazing Racers is a must read for millions of runners and the millions more who strive for better performance.

Marc Bloom is an award-winning track and field journalist. He is a senior writer for Runner's World magazine and the author of six books.  He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“A captivating story of a longtime coach with a unique vision. Bravo to Bloom for sharing this story of a running dynasty and the man behind the program. A must-read for cross-country runners.” Booklist
“An inspiring illumination of a sensational team. Bloom's consistent and sincerely awestruck tone drives home just how special this story is, celebrating both the dedicated young athletes and their leader. His close reading of races, often called in heart-racing play-by-plays, is supplemented by research in sports physiology and psychology, and the history of cross-country racing.” Shelf Awareness