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Running with the Buffaloes: A Season Inside With Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher, And The University Of Colorado Men's Cross Country Team Paperback – April 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Colorado-based cross-country runner Lear follows the University of Colorado cross-country team, the Buffaloes, through its 1998 season, one with many high points but also marked by the tragic death of one of its team members in a bike accident. The University of Colorado's cross-country program is one of the best in the country and, unlike most major cross-country powers, relies mainly on locally born athletes. The book minutely details the training and coaching techniques used to produce a team that is a constant contender for the NCAA championship. At times, the author provides almost too much detail, but the reader must marvel at the dedication and self-motivation of these young men as they run more than 100 miles a week for nearly seven months. In 1998, Colorado won the individual NCAA cross-country championship and finished third in the team competition. Apart from instructionals, few books cover cross-country; this one will appeal to high school athletes and is recommended for both school and public libraries. William Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Lear's tale of the 1998 Colorado cross country season is part tragedy, part biography and part training window to one of the country's best programs. It deserves its cult-classic status and is worthy of another read every few years.” --Running Times
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; First Edition edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762773987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762773985
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
People generally read books about running because they truly love running itself. But only a few such books provide even a fraction of the enjoyment of a simple run. The classic, Once A Runner by John L. Parker, comes to mind, but there aren't many others.
You can add Running With the Buffaloes to the short list. Lear was shrewd, talented and lucky in writing this book: shrewd because his main subject is Olympian Adam Goucher, the strongest and boldest American distance runner since Bob Kennedy; talented because he has a clear, interesting, energized writing style; and lucky because his nonfiction, real life drama has a happy ending after an all-out struggle.
The core of the book is a daily description of cross country practice at the University of Colorado in the fall of 1998. For most people, reading about cross country practice would seem to fall somewhere between drudgery and torture, but Running With the Buffaloes is actually thrilling. Goucher's intensity, his coach's counsel and depth, his opponents' strengths and abilities and his teammates' successes and failures all weave together in a completely gripping tale. Lear keeps his chapters short, resulting in a pace that moves urgently. He assumes a level of awareness about running that is refreshing. For once, reading about running is like talking to someone who cares as much as you do, someone who is excited and knowledgeable.
When the Colorado team returned to campus for fall classes in 1998, they had two goals: win the NCAA championship and have Goucher win the individual title. Championships are built deliberately, with passion and anxiety. Goucher faces this with more than a little Prefontaine running through his veins.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Running on Empty on January 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am an adult distance runner with a high school son (15) who runs cross country. I ordered this book for myself and he grabbed it the minute it arrived. He read it in a week, which is an amazing thing for my computer-oriented son who generally avoids reading for pleasure. I just finished the book and believe it is an outstanding account of the rewards and heartbreaks of top-level collegiate running. I could not put this down. I cried at the tragedy this team endured and rejoiced at the successes. I believe this book is a true gift to my son and any young runner who aspires to greatness. I now know why a poster of Adam Goucher is on my son's wall. Chris Lear conveys the patience that is required by runners who, after being high school stars, might have to train through long periods (even years) of no improvement, injuries and crushing disappointments. He also conveys the impact a coach such as Mark Wetmore can have on a young runner's growth as a person and an athlete. You probably have to have more than a casual interest in running to really appreciate this book, but I believe it will touch and motivate both competitive and recreational runners. If I were a high school or college coach, every one of my runners would read this book!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lillian Finley on June 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a Division III cross country and track runner, I found this in-depth look at one of the nation's premier programs both enlightening and distancing. Chris Lear does an excellent job of getting access to every aspect of life at Colorado, but the overall effect of the book is to describe life in truly rarefied air. Very few runners have the facilities, talent, or wherewithal to devote so much of their lives to training. In fact, only the elites (that occasionally show up for CU sunday runs) and the soon-to-be elite collegians have made such a decision to devote their lives (and souls) to the sport. Lear gives a tough-minded portrait of Adam Goucher, the CU star who finally wins the national cross title he's been lusting after since the begining of his career, as well as a dynamic look into the team psychology and training. Perhaps the most ellusive character of all is Mark Wetmore, CU's Ahab-like coach, who admits in an afterword interview with Lear that his training might have been a touch too intense. With 'Running With the Buffaloes,' the average reader is given a front row seat in the trenches of Colorado's season, which insists on remaining delicately balanced a stress fracture from failure.
a real great inspirational read, for any runner. Even if you'll never train like this, you can always dream...
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Timothy R. Sullivan on October 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Finally, someone gets it right when explaining the world of cross country, and that would be author Chris Lear. The diary format takes the reader through the ups and downs of one riveting colleigate cross country season. Having been a former high school and college cross country runner, I always had a difficult time explaining to my baseball-playing friends why I ran so much, and why did I compete in something as whacky as cross country. This book is a perfect explanation. He explains that there's more to just going out and running, that it takes discipline, stamina, strength (man, lots of injuries in this book!) and courage. Lear also shows how runners bond together through the miles and miles of training and racing.
His last piece on the NCAA championship, a play-by-play of Goucher and his teammates, is poetic. I've never read a better race description ever.
Why four and not five stars? First, I'm picky and think five starts should be saved for truly epic sports books like "Friday Night Lights." That said, Lear could've improved on some things. First off, the author was at his best when diverting from the diary format and going into the lives of Goucher, Ponce and Severy. We didn't read enough detail about their lives. Apparently they hang out and are revered at a local coffee shop. We never got more than they just hang out there. I wanted an explanation of this place and why they love steeplechasers so much. Also, the CU runners go to a party, we get a paragraph on it. Do they date, study, hang out, do anything but run? Every little injury is described into minute detail, and that gets old.
Also, the photos are horrendous. It's as if Lear took a point and shoot to practice. On one they twice had "Goucher in full flight" as the caption.
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