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An Honorable Run Paperback – July 30, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"There may be accounts of the interaction between coach and athlete in other sports, but in cross country and track, perhaps, we need a wider understanding of this powerful relationship that has changed so many young persons' lives for the better.
I wish everyone could find coaches like mine and Matt's, people who taught more than simple athletics to kids."

Bill Rodgers, Four-time winner of the New York City and Boston Marathons

"This book is a celebration of the unsung heroes of sport, the coaches who sacrifice their time to form champions and change lives. Matt captures all of this in An Honorable Run. The sport of running is about overcoming challenges, life lessons taught and learned and the victories that don't always come with winning, but simply by giving our all."

Jim Ryun, three time Olympian, former World Record Holder in the one mile run

"An Honorable Run is an inspirational journey for anyone who has ever laced up a sports shoe. Proof that you don't have to win to be a winner."

Mike Sager, Writer at Large, Esquire,  2010 National Magazine Award Winner 

About the Author

Born in Iowa, Matt McCue now lives in New York City. He has written for New York Magazine, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN RISE Dye Stat, Runner's World.com, and The Huffington Post.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (July 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439233284
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439233283
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Thompson on September 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
Like Running with the Buffaloes, Once a Runner, and Born to Run, this book makes you want to pop out of bed at 6:00 a.m. and log some miles. It makes you want to chase that dream of high school, college, or road race glory.

An Honorable Run describes the author's days as a runner at Iowa City Regina high school and Colorado University. Perhaps I'm biased because I grew up competing with this high school (but wouldn't that make me biased against him?), but this book gives a great summary of the author's hard-fought years of chasing his running goals. I can live vicariously through this text and think, "What if I trained my heart out and went to school at the top running school in the nation to be my absolute best?" This book shows what happened to the author when he answered that question.

Also, the book chronicles the author's interactions with the "mythical" CU coach Wettmore and his locally-famous high school coach Brown. The personalities conflicting, and great to read about.

Of course, the book includes the author's success/failures chasing these dreams, and the personal level these coaches affected him over the years, college and beyond.

I also liked the insight into the CU training program, and the continued interaction with his ties back home.

Great work.
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This book was an interesting and heartfelt account of a very driven, motivated runner's journey through high school and collegiate track and xc careers. The author's depiction of his high school coach was really touching. As a parent of a high school runner, I could only wish that my kid had had such a kind and inspirational coach. I thought the book was especially interesting because the author was a very good runner but not among the natonal elite, yet he made his way onto an elite college team through hard work and perseverance. Very few first place finishes came his way in college but he always maintained his inspiration and dreams. Very nice.

I wish there had been a bit more detail about his college running other than his long runs. There wasn't much discussion of his track workouts, etc. That would have been interesting. There was also virtually no mention of his college life outside running, which I thought made the book sort of one dimensional. Even a brief discussion of how he balanced academics with such high mileage would have made the story more real for those of us who have never been college athletes.

Finally, the part of the book that really confused me was the author's depiction of the Colorado head coach. The author praises him throughout the book and refers to him as a guru of running, yet the coach really comes across as a very distant, almost unapproachable, cold sort of person. The author seems almost afraid to discuss issues with him, big issues like whether he will be retained on the team, or whether he will be taken to an upcoming meet. This same coach apparently never bothered to answer the author's many emails, letters and phone calls about the Colorado program when the author was in high school. That seemed just plain rude to me.
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If you're a long distance runner, you are going to relate to this book, regarless of whether you like it or hate it. Personally, I am not the biggest fan of his writing, I think that if he put in another year of hard writing, cutting and adding, and working to shape the novel, then it really could have been something to match Running with Buffaloes; a story about the same team told from the point of view of a jv runner. There were points where Matt captured moments that only long distance runners must love, but the book is pieced together by those moments, taking away some of the adrenaline rushing gutsyness they bring. Races are let-downs because not enough work is put into the rest of the running that he does. The author should know, as a runner, success doesn't come by piecing together good preformances but by combining them all into one. Finishing the novel, there is the feeling that McCue rushed, didn't dig deep enough and wrote it as a way to exorcise strong emotions.
Overall, this book was written as a tribute to a past-away coach, and for his friends and family I can imagine it is a heartfelt memoir of one man's relationship with Coach Brown. Yet, for all of those who never met him, instead we get a story that is missing too many pieces for it to fully satisfy our literary appetites, built upon emotions that we only get from vaugly desrcibed characters, and the main character who is confused about them. I never knew Coach Brown, and the images McCue paints of him are too tinged with personal feeling that, for 3rd person readers, are like a fingerpainting of the Mona Lisa, and fail to do it justice. This novel is basically a sketch of a much greater story that evades the descriptions that McCue uses to portray important scenes in his life.
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(Some minor spoilers)

This book is an earnest and heartfelt tribute to the author's two biggest influences. I found myself very intrigued by it as the author goes into great detail describing the coaching styles of two very different men, and how they influenced him. I appreciated his honesty, as he is pretty frank in describing how he often clashed with his coaches or failed to understand their methods. It's also just an interesting story; as the author travels from a small, Iowa high school and attempts to become a distance running star at the uber-competitive Colorado University.

My biggest issue with the book, as others have pointed out, is that the actual details of the author's training and racing are very hazy. The races he described were also very vague. Finally, the chronology wasn't necessarily hard to follow, but the constantly accelerating timeline meant that the story never really built to anything.

Overall, I appreciated the perspective of someone who went after his dream. I thought the writing style, while not especially flashy, was efficient in telling a decade long story. This book, unfortunately, is kind of stuck between a more literary work like "Once a Runner" and a newspaper article.
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