Welcome to episode 149 of the Final Surge Podcast. In this episode, we welcome Marc Bloom to the show to talk about his new book Amazing Racers. Anyone who follows high school running knows that Fayetteville-Manlius is an amazing story. Their girl’s team won the Nike National XC Championship 11 of the first 12 years they were there, coming in second the one year they didn’t win. And the boy’s team, while only winning one national championship, has been one of the 22 teams to qualify for the national championship 13 of the 15 years the race has been around. We talk to Mark about how a small school in upstate New York has been able to be so dominant for so long. If you are a coach or just a running fan you are going to enjoy this episode.
1:34 How did you become so interested in high school cross country?
3:40 You have been around the high school distance scene for decades, how has it changed?
5:54 What about the coaching and training side, how has that changed?
7:28 What are some of the common factors for the teams that are successful year after year?
10:03 Can you give us a quick overview of Nike and the role FM has played in that?
13:04 What gives FM the success they are having?
19:09 What are some of the go-to books that have influenced Bill Aris?
25:04 What I took from the belief system is the team leaders became the driving force to push the team
28:50 The hallmark of their program is the tight compression of the team. But often early in the season it is that is not there and it gets better by the end of the season, so what is happening to 3-5 to get such a tight compression?
33:06 You say it is not about the X’s and O’s, but in the book, they go hard and go hard often
37:58 The race was secondary, a by-product. Training was where culture changed. The race was like a degree after years of study. That’s why Mackenzie Carter would get upset when a teammate didn’t understand the “gravity” of a workout. “How they’d trained,” said John Aris, “exceeded any difficulty they would find in the race.” This effort seemed to be done every time they laced up the shoes together.
43:29 After 2013 they come back and boys and girls win in 2014
47:23 They talk a lot about 1-7, but what about 8-20 are they going through the same things?
50:19 There is criticism that the kids don’t have success at the next level, how much of that is just the college experience of team is different?
55:36 There is a perception that Bill Aris is stand-offish and is not involved in the community, so how hard was it get this book done?
1:00:01 If there is high school coach trying to implement this, I think it is going to be impossible unless it is who you are, this is who Bill Aris is
1:04:15 How much longer do you think Bill will be doing this?