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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 Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585743283
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585743285
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.


"Running with the Buffaloes" is to cross country what John Feinstein's "A Season on the Brink" is to college basketball. -- USA Today

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Had a hard time putting the book away.
Tom E. Lynn
The book gathers perspective from runners and coaches alike, which makes it a great read for anyone interested in the sport of running.
Nathan Thomas
While the subject of the book is the entire team, Chris Lear focuses the most on Coach Mark Wetmore and Senior Adam Goucher.
Joe Sherry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 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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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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40 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Analog Bubblebath on July 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The writing could be better, but Lear does provide a fairly unvarnished look at CU's nominally successful runners--a scrappy program with comparatively little scholarship money to pull in nationwide high school talent. And while many reviewers below have (gushingly) noted how inspirational this book is, I found it had some curious gaps.

For instance, very little is noted about the interactions of the runners outside of workouts. Cursory mention is made of get togethers, but what about the burden of being a full-time student? Romance? Drinking and drugs, of both the entertaining and performance enhancing variety?

Most interesting, yet unnoticed by the players themselves, is the very obvious reason for CU's relative lack of success: extreme overtraining.

Though he claims to think long and hard about what works and what doesn't, coach Mark Wetmore's dogmatic inflexibility and lack of insight is frankly stunning. It is crystal clear that he is overtraining his runners, both with volume and intensity, and builds his training around his senior star, Adam Goucher. Wetmore claims to be a Lydiard advocate, yet rather than focus on building the deep reserves of endurance Lydiard preached, it seemed to me that Wetmore emphasize a lot of lactate work and allows each workout to become a competition. Furthermore, as the book relates, no less than three of his runners came down with stress fractures over the course of 12 months. On a squad of 40, that amounts to an epidemic. Stress fractures are overuse injuries, folks, plain and simple.

One need only look at the post-collegiate careers of many of his stars for further evidence: the Gouchers (Kara particularly), the Torres twins, Dathan Ritzenheim.
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