For fans of The Perfect Mile and Born to Run, a riveting, three-pronged narrative about the golden era of running in Americathe 1970sas seen through running greats, Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and Alberto Salazar It was 1978. Jimmy Carter was President, gas prices were soaring, and Americans were hunkering down to weather the economic crisis. But in bookstores Jim Fixx's The Complete Book of Running was a bestseller. Frank Shorter's gold medal in the 1972 Olympic marathon had put distance running in the mind of a public enamored of baseball and football. Suddenly, the odd activity of jogging became running, and America was in love. That summer, a junior from the University of Oregon named Alberto Salazar went head to head with Olympic champion Frank Shorter and Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers at the Falmouth Road Race, losing in the last mile to Rodgers's record-setting 32:21, nearly dying in the process, and setting the stage for a great rivalry. In Shorter, Rodgers, and Salazar, running had its conflict and drama like boxing had Ali and Foreman, like basketball had Russell and Chamberlain. Each man built on what the other achieved, and each pushed the other to succeed. Their successes, in turn, fueled a nation of coach potatoes to put down the remote and lace up their sneakers. Kings of the Road tells the story of running during that golden period from 1972 to 1981 when Shorter, Rodgers, and Salazar captured the imagination of the American public as they passed their figurative baton from one to the other. These three men were American running during those years, while the sport enjoyed a popularity never equaled. As America now experiences a similar running boom, Kings of the Road is a stirring, inspiring narrative of three men pushing themselves toward greatness and taking their country along for the ride.
Cameron Stracher is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the author of The Laws of Return, Double Billing, and Dinner with Dad, as well as YA dystopian thriller The Water Wars. Stracher is also a media lawyer who has written for the New York Times; the New York Times Magazine; the Wall Street Journal; the American Lawyer, where he is a contributing editor; and many other publications. He lives in Westport, Connecticut, with his wife and two children and is a dedicated runner.
A "lively, informative history" of distance running's 1970s heyday-including the famous Falmouth Road Race-written "with a true fan's contagious enthusiasm" (Newsweek).
It was 1978. Jimmy Carter was president; gas prices were soaring; and Americans were hunkering down to weather the economic crisis. But Jim Fixx's The Complete Book of Running was a bestseller. Frank Shorter's gold medal in the 1972 Olympic marathon had put distance running on the minds of many Americans. The odd activity of "jogging" became "running," and America was in love.
That summer, a junior from the University of Oregon named Alberto Salazar went up against Shorter and Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers at the Falmouth Road Race. Though he lost to Rodgers's record-setting 32:21, the competition set the stage for an epic rivalry among the three greats. Each pushed the others to succeed and, in turn, inspired a nation of couch potatoes to put down the remote and lace up their sneakers.
"[A] lively, informative history." - Newsweek/The Daily Beast
"Essential reading for runners both competitive and casual." -Kirkus Reviews
"Kings of the Road is about marathon legends. It's about running Fast. It's about Will. It's about the Real. It's about drama of the finest kind." -Bernd Heinrich, author of Why We Run and Racing the Antelope
"A rollicking, informed account of . . . how distance running helped define a generation." -John Brant, author of Duel in the Sun and coauthor with Alberto Salazar of 14 Minutes