Running to Glory

An Unlikely Team, a Challenging Season, and Chasing the American Dream

Book Description

The runners from Eisenhower High School had every possible justification to fail. They were poor with little time to devote to their passion. They had problems at home and distractions that would test even Job. Yet they gave their quest for the Washington State cross country championship everything they had.

Running is a religion to millions of men and women who devoutly head out each day. They view any book that celebrates their passion as Holy Scripture—a must-read that can take them to The Promised Land. Salvation is at hand with Running to Glory--a celebration of grit, perseverance and ultimately the American Dream. It is the inspiring story of an Irish immigrant coach and a group of Hispanic boys and girls as they chase their hopes and a state championship.

Running to Glory, by veteran journalist Sam McManis, follows the cross country team from Eisenhower High in Yakima, Washington, through a tumultuous and challenging season with excitement, suspense and pathos. The Eisenhower runners are primarily Latino from economically challenged families, many of whom are migrant farm workers. They must compete with more affluent schools in the Seattle-Tacoma area, where parent involvement is strong and funds are readily available to augment performance. Their coach Phil English knows how his runners feel. He grew up poor in rural Ireland in the 1960s during The Troubles, emigrated to the U.S. for a college track scholarship, and over 37 years coaching in Yakima, has won 11 state titles and sent more than 100 kids to college with full or partial scholarships for their running.

How Eisenhower runners have accomplished such feats lies at the heart of the book’s compelling narrative. McManis follows the team from summer workouts in the blistering sun to the state championship meet in the bitter cold. Readers will learn how these young men and women either overcome their environment or succumb to it--on the course and in the classroom.

About McManis, Sam


Sam McManis has worked as a staff writer and columnist for California’s leading newspapers (the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee) for more than three decades. Until May, 2016, he was a lifestyle columnist and feature writer for the Sacramento Bee. His stories have been published in The New York Times and Wall StreetJournal. He has received numerous national journalism awards and has covered two Olympic Games, World Series, NBA Championship series and Super Bowls. In 2016, he received a “Best in the West” award for arts and entertainment writing and was named California’s “in-state” journalist of the year. He also teaches English and composition at Central Washington University. McManis has run 17 marathons -- including the prestigious Boston Marathon twice -- and also completed 7 ultramarathons and countless races of shorter distances. He knows running and, as a journalist with more than three decades of experience, he knows what makes a good story.