Running from the Heart: A Conversation with Matthew Futterman

Matthew Futterman is a captivating storyteller. He’s also a pretty fast runner who has finished 23 marathons. Combine these two talents and you get a man who’s passionate about running and always looking for a good story to tell.

Enter Coach Bob Larsen and the Southern California runners whom he molded into national long-distance running champions. After learning about Larsen and his Jamul Toads team, Matthew knew he had found a good story. As he transformed it into a book, however, he began to realize that what he had at his fingertips was really the story of the rise, fall, and renaissance of American distance running.

Running to the Edge: A Band of Misfits and the Guru who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed is an inspiring account of Larsen’s immeasurable influence on modern distance running, the training techniques he crafted, and his role in guiding Olympic medalists such as Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor.

This is a delightful conversation with Matthew about his new book, his own running journey, why we run in the first place, and the painstaking and similar processes of writing and marathon training. Part “history of running,” part memoir, this episode is entertaining and enlightening, and it will forever change how we view the beloved tempo run.

Matthew Futterman is Deputy Sports Editor of The New York Times. He has previously worked for The Wall Street Journal, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Star-Ledger of New Jersey, where his team won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News in 2005.