Book Review: Coast to Coast

This is the story of the 2004 RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) cross country relay team running across the country. Fitting. They ran a continuous relay from San Diego to Annapolis, MD in just over 12 days.

They dipped the relay baton in the Pacific and then celebrated with the baton in the Chesapeake Bay of the Atlantic less than 2 weeks later. Of course much more went on between those two events. The story includes more than just who ran when. Ryan Pancoast did a great job in capturing the feelings that occured during the relay. Way too many people packed into too little space for too long leads to many intense moments.

I was most interested in two things in this book. First, knowing it was a group of college students running the event, there had to be a lot of stupidity going on. I was amazed to think that they could actually do it. So in reading the book, my curiosity for how they would make it to the end was satisfied. Imagine all the stupid things you would do if you were with a group like this and that is what you have in the book. Fun to read for that factor alone.

Secondly I wanted to see a book published by Lulu Press. I have read and heard quite a bit about the quality of the final product, it was good to see it on my own. The book is well bound. The cover seems a bit flimsy, but the pages are good quality. You would not expect this book to fall apart after several readings. Good job Lulu. I am much more interested in reading other books printed by them now.

Kudos to RIT for making this an official school event. I am sure it was a tough decision by the decision makers. Or, if it was not, it should have been. After they read the book, they should have seen it as a very important decision. They have already committed to allowing another group of students to run the event in 25 more years. There will probably be much more planning involved by the school the next time around.

In the final pages of the book Pancoast (or Sanford as he is called in the book) says: “In those last few moments, we loved each other like family and hated each other like family.” If you want to know how that could come about in just 2 weeks, you must read the book. Imagine a group of 20 brothers and sisters and you have an idea of what 2 weeks of running will do to a group of college kids.

But, due to the raunchy language used in the book, I will not personally recommend it to any of my friends, nor allow my children to read it.

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