Running with the Buffaloes: A Season Inside with Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher, and the University of Colorado Men's Cross-Country Team

Running with the Buffaloes: A Season Inside with Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher, and the University of Colorado Men's Cross-Country Team

Top five Best Books About Running, Runner's World Magazine Top three Best Books About Running, readers of Runner's World Magazine(December 2009) A phenomenal portrait of courage and desire that will do for college cross-country what John Feinstein's A Season on the Brink did for college basketball....

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Title:Running with the Buffaloes: A Season Inside with Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher, and the University of Colorado Men's Cross-Country Team
Author:Chris Lear
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Edition Language:English

Running with the Buffaloes: A Season Inside with Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher, and the University of Colorado Men's Cross-Country Team Reviews

  • Dan Darragh

    If I were a high school cross country coach, I'd gather my perspective team in the spring and tell them to read this book over the summer before practice begins. Come fall, few would accuse the coach of pushing them too hard. A non-runner probably won't appreciate this book at all, but a competitive runner -- one who's competed at the high school or college level, or even in local races -- gets the message loud and clear: If you're going to win, you're going to have to work -- hard.

    Mark Wetmore'

    If I were a high school cross country coach, I'd gather my perspective team in the spring and tell them to read this book over the summer before practice begins. Come fall, few would accuse the coach of pushing them too hard. A non-runner probably won't appreciate this book at all, but a competitive runner -- one who's competed at the high school or college level, or even in local races -- gets the message loud and clear: If you're going to win, you're going to have to work -- hard.

    Mark Wetmore's tactics involving heavy mileage will be disputed by many coaches, but his Colorado Buffaloes have often been ranked nationally and he has coached many individual champions.

    Chris Lear spent a season with the team in 1998, when the team's top runner, Adam Goucher, won the NCAA national championship.

    This isn't a book for the average reader, but coaches and runners will love it and marvel at the dedication it takes to truly strive to be No. 1.

  • Jabali Sawicki

    Loved playing basketball and soccer in college. If I could go back and do it again, I also would have run cross-country. Making up for it late in life. Great read.

  • Brittany Stedtler

    I run on a college team. I am far from good, but I think that's what makes this book better for me. It's a great look into one of the best teams, and it allows the normal runner, like me, a glimpse into what makes an amazing runner. It allows the reader to connect with the team and see that national class athletes aren't really different then us regular people. For someone with an interest in cross country the book is interesting, exciting, sad and inspiring.

  • Douglas

    The author Chris Lear very effectively captures and conveys the unique milieu of the competitive runners' world. From the pre-season workouts through the NCAA finals, Mr. Lear experienced an entire season with the University of Colorado men's cross country team. Enjoying boundless access, he attended practices, team meetings, meets; listened in on telephone calls; read the runners' personal journals; and interviewed the coaches and team members on a regular basis. Mr. Lear presents the story of

    The author Chris Lear very effectively captures and conveys the unique milieu of the competitive runners' world. From the pre-season workouts through the NCAA finals, Mr. Lear experienced an entire season with the University of Colorado men's cross country team. Enjoying boundless access, he attended practices, team meetings, meets; listened in on telephone calls; read the runners' personal journals; and interviewed the coaches and team members on a regular basis. Mr. Lear presents the story of this team like a diary. The reader comes away from this book with a deepened respect for the competitive runner --- who perseveres despite pain and isolation, competes with injuries the average person would find debilitating, engages in daily workouts of herculean proportions, sacrifices personal comfort and pleasures--- all for a sport that garners little publicity or interest. These runners amaze the reader with their unwavering devotion, courage and toughness. I recommend this to anyone interested in the triumph of the human spirit.

  • Terzah

    This book is a Boulder classic. I tweeted that I was reading it, and unlike most of my tweets, which go out into a great black hole of no response, this one got an enthusiastic reply. And today, while shopping at our new Alfalfa's grocery store, the cashier noticed it tucked under my arm. "Great book," he said. "I read it years ago."

    The book details (and I mean details!) every day in the life of the 1998 University of Colorado men's cross-country team. It starts in the hot summer months, when it

    This book is a Boulder classic. I tweeted that I was reading it, and unlike most of my tweets, which go out into a great black hole of no response, this one got an enthusiastic reply. And today, while shopping at our new Alfalfa's grocery store, the cashier noticed it tucked under my arm. "Great book," he said. "I read it years ago."

    The book details (and I mean details!) every day in the life of the 1998 University of Colorado men's cross-country team. It starts in the hot summer months, when it wasn't clear who the season's ultimate stars would be, and culminates with the team's third-place finish at the NCAA championships, a race that CU's star runner, Adam Goucher, won in spectacular fashion after long years of striving. The testosterone is so thick at times you can almost smell it--these aren't the gentlemen athletes of Chariots of Fire. The reader goes along on tough runs ranging from lung-burning long ones at 8,000 feet to puke-inducing track intervals, and also on all the team's meets. You meet Mark Wetmore, the program's idolized coach, getting his impressions and worries as the season unfolds. And you're there when a beloved senior team member dies in a biking accident, plunging the team into grief.

    The book reads like the author's journal. This is good at times, because it all feels immediate and intense, but also bad, because anyone's personal journal could use an editor. A steady editor here would have excised or explained jargon, cleaned up sentences and smoothed out transitions. I love good narrative non-fiction and would have liked more narrative flow here. Also, to me as a woman and a decidedly average runner, Wetmore's fretting about his runners "getting fat" and his disparaging remarks about average folks who come out each year to run the big local race, the Bolder Boulder, were disheartening (I hope he doesn't talk about his female runners' weight like that).

    But overall, I enjoyed this unique book and learned a lot from it about competitive running, about the town I live in and about young and talented athletes. They are, as one team member put it toward the end of the book, "incredible people with the incredible and audacious agenda to discover their own talents," who "run our asses off and do what we do so well that we defeat all kinds of people that are supposed to be better than us."

    Hopefully Wetmore won't begrudge some of us average folks (who may also be a little fat!) adopting just a smidge of that attitude, toward running and life.

  • Ellie Crawford

    I am really enjoying this book so far. It shows the importance of trainging in order to become a good runner through one of the main characters, Adam Goucher. It is really interesting to read Wetmore's philosophy on running and connect it to my cross country coaches philosophy. The chapters in this book are really interesting because some are long, packed with information, while others are short and anecdotal. I am really excited to read deeper into this book and see how far the Colorado team go

    I am really enjoying this book so far. It shows the importance of trainging in order to become a good runner through one of the main characters, Adam Goucher. It is really interesting to read Wetmore's philosophy on running and connect it to my cross country coaches philosophy. The chapters in this book are really interesting because some are long, packed with information, while others are short and anecdotal. I am really excited to read deeper into this book and see how far the Colorado team goes in nationals.

    I am now about halfway done with the book. There are many characters that have developed throughout the story, but one of the main characters is Adam Goucher. He is the best runner on the team and is portrayed with having a lot of dedication towards the sport. He leads the team in every workout and is the captain of the team. Many of the other runners look up to him and his 100 miles a week stamina. I am interested to see if any of the other characters will reach his height of ability.

    I am now at the part in the book where the Colorado team has ran a few races and are delving into the beginning of their season. So far, all of the varsity runners have shown a huge improvement compared to last year. They are already ahead of where they were at the end of last year. There have been a couple unexpected injuries that have changed the order of line-up for the runners. It will be interesting to see if some of these minor injuries will develop into larger hastles that will disable the runner from their best abilities, or if they are just annoying little problems that will go away on their own. The boys team have been successful thus far, I can only imagine their ability will sharpen and they will continue to progress throughout the season due to Wetmore's philosophy.

    There are multiple conflicts plaqueing the University of Colorado's cross country team. The most significant is the unexpected death of one of the team members. It is hard for the team to get through this and continue their season, but they agree it would be exactly what Severy would have wanted. They want to finish in memory of Severy. Other minor conflicts are with injuries occuring to multiple important members to the team. So many injuries are occuring that Wetmore is starting to think about next season and the newly signed upcoming twins that are coming to the University of Colorado. I wonder if the members of the team will be able to recover and succeed at the national meet.

  • Josh Derrick

    This book was awesome. Told in a style that reminds me of my xc coaches post race emails, this book took us through a crazy season with the CU xc team. Since most of the workouts and races were at altitude, the pack times were eerily similar to my own during my freshman xc season. And the amount of adversity these guys pushed through was frankly incredible.

    I am however taking a star off for the strange way the women's team is treated in this book. They are tangentially mentioned many times, but

    This book was awesome. Told in a style that reminds me of my xc coaches post race emails, this book took us through a crazy season with the CU xc team. Since most of the workouts and races were at altitude, the pack times were eerily similar to my own during my freshman xc season. And the amount of adversity these guys pushed through was frankly incredible.

    I am however taking a star off for the strange way the women's team is treated in this book. They are tangentially mentioned many times, but never really talked about. I found this kind of weird/sexist and would have much rather they weren't talked about at all.

  • Sandra

    This book lacks any literary merit or even a story for that matter. This is not a book for anyone but track enthusiast. The reading is scattered with track jargon without the a glossary to aid non-runners. Even if he did spend an entire season with the team, Lear fails to bring the runners alive and really bring out their individual personalities and characteristics as people. Lear organizes the story into daily journal accounts of the team. Unfortunately, this gets tedious as he includes accoun

    This book lacks any literary merit or even a story for that matter. This is not a book for anyone but track enthusiast. The reading is scattered with track jargon without the a glossary to aid non-runners. Even if he did spend an entire season with the team, Lear fails to bring the runners alive and really bring out their individual personalities and characteristics as people. Lear organizes the story into daily journal accounts of the team. Unfortunately, this gets tedious as he includes accounts of their practices with runners times etc.

    On the other hand, Lear does a great job of describing race days and readers get caught up with the runners pre-race jitters and emotions. And despite the negatives of the book, it is nevertheless fascinating to follow the team through their ups, downs, triumphs and tragedies.

    As a recreational runner, I picked up some strategies and tips for my own personal use and found the book inspired my to take my running to the next step.

  • Virginia Jacobs

    This book was actually not very good. There were a number of typos and grammatical errors in the book. The chapters were short and choppy, and in many cases the chapter titles were quite juvenile. Also, the layout was strange: there were black and white photos dispersed throughout the book, rather than one section of colored photos in the middle.

    The actual story is that of the 1998 University of Colorado Cross Country team, of which a friend of mine was a member. The first thing that I can say

    This book was actually not very good. There were a number of typos and grammatical errors in the book. The chapters were short and choppy, and in many cases the chapter titles were quite juvenile. Also, the layout was strange: there were black and white photos dispersed throughout the book, rather than one section of colored photos in the middle.

    The actual story is that of the 1998 University of Colorado Cross Country team, of which a friend of mine was a member. The first thing that I can say is that now that I've taken up running, I have a much greater appreciation for how hard the team worked. That being said, though, the team was plagued by injuries, and there's only so much complaining about being tired and hurt that I can read about when the men are running 80-100 miles a week. Part of me sort of went, y'think?

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