Monday, March 11, 2013

Finally! The Book Review I Promised Months Ago

Seeing as I am such a poor writer, I'm not about to write a real review for a real book!  So I assigned my daughter to do the work for me.  And before you jump all over me for such cruelty, the book was meant for someone just like her to begin with.

Our friend from California and ex-Oregon Duck Dan Martinez has written a book geared toward the beginner cross country runner, although those of all ages have delighted in it.  He takes us back to those early innocent days before any of us knew what an interval or fartlek was.  Back when zits and bullies were a rather large consideration in our lives.  This all comes from the perspective of a skinny high school Freshman in California.  Cross Country 101 is a delight for this skinny nerd who in 1976 just couldn't cut it on the basketball court anymore.  Just about any of us can relate to its plot.  Some have said that the protagonist Eric Hunt is an amalgam of  the real-life Thom Hunt, Eric Hulst and Dan himself. Maybe he'll let us in on the secret when he sees this. Dan has been very active with Runners Reunited, an effort to reunite runners from the 60's, 70's and later in California.  He even has enticed my former roommate Alan Scharsu,,who lives in San Diego, out of hiding for it.

Review by Anne Baskwill, age 12 (a far better writer than I!) :

Cross Country 101 by Dan Martinez, Stuart Calderwood, and Liang Shan is by far the best running book I have ever read. Throughout the whole novel, Eric and the entirety of the Regal High Cross Country team inspired me to become the best runner that I can be. Watching Eric evolve from next to last at his first meet to the number one freshman at States was incredible, and the writing was exceptional. It is apparent to every runner that the author knew exactly what he was talking about when he described the typical “new runner” struggles and all of the techniques used. What made the novel great is that it wasn’t completely based on running. There was a perfect blend of different conflicts and difficulties in the book that balanced out the story and kept the reader interested. I would definitely recommend it to anyone: runners and readers.     

Get the book at Amazon:  Cross Country 101


  1. The summer after my junior year of HS, courtesy of my cousin Joe Mangan (an eventual 2:19 marathoner and Norcal Aggie - famous for their Bay to Breakers Centipede), I received an envelope of tabloid type newspapers which chronicled the daily happenings of the 1976 Olympic Trials held in Eugene, OR. A year earlier, Joe had sent me T&F News annual HS edition and I was startled to learn that a guy named Eric Hulst held the HS records for the 2 mile at every class level, but senior - 9:04 as a frosh, 8:55 as a soph, 9:45 as a junior. I was equally stunned to learn that two other guys - Thom Hunt and Ralph Serna had chased Hulst to some of those times and were all also sub-4:10 milers!! In '76 Hulst qualified for the 10K in Eugene along with Hammond,IN star Rudy Chapa (who garnered fame at the U of O) the HS 10K record holder at 28:32.7. When I first competed at college meets with those guys, I was completely in awe at seeing, in person, those names that lit up the pages of T&F News (which then could only be received in a mailbox attached to a house or to a post near the front of the house). A few years after that, I was fortunate to be a teammate of Thom Hunt, who was (and still is - currently the drummer for The Jackals) one of the most fun people in the world to hang out with. Hunt was also the drummer in Sweat Band, a Eugene base band that boasted two, sub 28 10K guys. One was Hunt, who can name the other???


  2. Excellent book review by Miss Baskwill!



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