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

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  1,473 ratings  ·  99 reviews
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.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Lyons Press (first published July 1st 2001)
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Dan Darragh
Aug 27, 2008 Dan Darragh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Dan by: My daughter, a former coach
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'...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
John Brugge
Laid out day by day through an entire season, this is a great story that is seen and felt as it unfolds. With an author who is also a runner, the fly-on-the-wall perspective you get is more like a fly on the shoulder of a runner, taking you on the course during workouts and seemingly during the races as well.

The runners and coaches don't seem to edit themselves too much for Lear, and when they might, he is be able to read their moods for us. Still, one of the jewels of the book is when he inclu...more
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...more
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.
It's a quick read and I'm a running nerd, but Chris Lear's slobbering worship of the team was a little gross.
Interesting story about running, though on a 4th grade reading level.
Excellently inspiring running book
Cory Bouchek

Running With The Buffaloes

By:Chris Lear

Running with the Buffaloes is a must read book for any runner. It truly demonstrates what a team should be. The team went through pain, agony, suffering both emotionally and physically, but it was all part of their journey. The teamwork was tremendous and no one gave up on anyone.

Chris Leer did a great job writing this book. I am such a big fan of the writing style and how he uses a journal format. The story consists of the Colorado men’s Cross-Country...more
Chad Sayban
This book chronicles a season with the University of Colorado Men's Cross Country team and their pursuit of the NCAA National Championship. While the events of this book are now nearly ten years ago, the story is still very compelling. Author Chris Lear spent the entire season with the team, including coach Mark Wetmore and All-American Adam Goucher. It is a fascinating read that delves into the personal dynamics of a team made up of individual performances and how the team comes together during...more
I like this kind of reporting. It reminds me of "A Season Inside" John Feinstein's inside account of a college basketball season from inside the perspective of a number of teams and coaches. Of course, it isn't nearly as good as Feinstein's work, but there really is only one John Feinstein. The technique of 'embedding' a journalist (please forgive the term) with a team for a season works and I really like the personal perspective that we get on Colorado's 1998 Cross Country season.

I'm a running...more
Good book: I'm a hard rater.
You can't read something like this because you're looking for exceptional literature. No, books like this you need to come for something different: you admire the characters. Oh, and by the way? These are Real. Actual physical humans who walked the earth, and still do. Lear succeeds in getting you up to the lead pack, where you find the Colorado Buffaloes lurking in the dust, bunched up little bit back of the lead, simmering in pain, knowing that thousands of miles of...more
Jeffrey L.
There aren't that many great books about running that aren't written like manuals. Running isn't generally like a team sport. Football has stories to tell because there's a story behind every player and a story can be told about every play. Same with soccer or baseball. Running involves one person putting one foot in front of the other for a specified distance as quickly as possible. In any race, there are less than a handfull of opportunities for strategy to come into play. It's a sport that do...more
David Taitelbaum
Running with the Buffaloes is a good read for those who are into running and have some familiarity with college sports like cross country and track and field. Lear understands the dynamics of college athletes and does a fine job bringing the characters to life. The main character is obviously head coach Mark Wetmore and the star athlete is Adam Goucher, who is in his final season of collegiate athletics and is a favorite to be the national champion in the 5000 meters and Cross Country.

The most i...more
Sep 14, 2008 Jeff rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: serious runners
Shelves: running
Interesting stories, way too many runners to keep track of, writing is slightly better than a high school newspaper reporter.

John Feinstein has a special skill to jump around to a bunch of different stories and keeping the reader engaged- also while constructing a straightforward and unsentimental book.

The guy who wrote this book just has a bunch of fragmented little journal entries about the team. Often he includes meaningless parts about one of the twenty runners, goes over their times (even i...more
Jeremy Costello
This book was well written for a sports book. It was well done in a day by day, diary type format. I thought the author, Chris Lear, did a good job of alluding to future events and making a story about the team instead of just making it a summary. Even though there were a lot of characters to talk about and it only covered 3 months, Lear gave little anecdotes about all the major players, following them off of the cross-country course to give us insight into who they are as people, not just runne...more
Jonathan Nichols
This book inspired me to want to be able to push myself to the extent of my abilities. It is an insight into the lives of college athletes and the innate talent, drive, and dedication it takes to perform at that level. As I read, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about various members of the Colorado Cross Country Team specifically, their backgrounds and how each of them had gotten to this specific point in their life. The book goes into detail about runners anyone might idolize, especially when it...more
Michael Sainato
Not well written by any means but, a great read if you are or were a competitive runner as it gives a unique perspective on an elite cross country team. I grew to actually care about a lot of the runners on this team and it is realistic in that all the hard work, all the miles, all the sacrifice that goes into this sort of training doesn't always pan out. Accidents and injuries occur, obstacles present themselves out of nowhere and there is a lot more adversity to running than just running itsel...more
Have to have to have to reread this. It was amazing. The running classic to top them all. It even beats out Once a Runner.
I enjoyed this book and tore through it very quickly. But I suspect that may be because I'm a running nerd and enjoy reading about the sport. The book is written at a very basic level -- it's pure nonfiction, without any real dramatization or yarn-spinning. So while it may be easy to miss the journalistic creativity of, say, a Born to Run, you do get the sense that what's presented is an entirely honest, very detailed, unvarnished account of what occurred during this team's season. I'd definitel...more
Excellent real life look into collegiate cross country and the Colorado system.
Interesting and fast-paced read, but not on the same level as Once a Runner.
Great way to follow along one of the best teams ever. Read during high school
Kari Craun
I really enjoyed this book. it is not a literary masterpiece but it is interesting from the perspective of leadership, loyalty, and determination. I am not a runner and this book doesn't inspire me to be one. But, I get it. I understand the thinking and the motivation and the struggle.
Loved it, good narrative, well told. It really gives you some insight on what training with a Big 12 cross country team would be like.

I probably am rating this a star higher than necessary because I run in Boulder, and most of the places mentioned (and some of the runs) are familiar to me. Gotta make it a point to go to the Village Coffee Shop though...over 20 years in Boulder and I've never been, mainly because if I pass it, I'm in the middle of a run rather than at the end.
If you're a super geeked out runner, then this will be a good read. If you're not a runner, then please consider something else. As a geeked out runner, I liked (not loved) this book. The author is obviously not a natural writer, he wasn't able to capture the team personality or brotherhood as well as he could have. I was interested in seeing how one of the most successful cross country coaches trains his athletes. But please keep in mind, this book is NOT a training manual!
Oct 13, 2008 Graham rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Runners, family of a runner, Mercury (and people who play with mercury)
To fully enjoy this book you need to have some relationship with college running: through this book the reader will (re)live the daily life a elite college runner. Chris Lear's journalistic approach the topic embeds the reader as a virtual member of the Colorado University's 1998 cross country team. The team's joys and sorrows are palpable on the pages. I don't think I can fully convey my collegiate running experience, but this book might be able to do it by proxy.
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