When Nike started the Oregon Project in 2001, the goal was to end the drought in American distance running. At the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan, Nike-sponsored Kara Goucher earned a silver medal in the 10k and became the first American woman to medal in a distance event on the world stage since 1992 Olympic bronze medalist Lynn Jennings. Despite the success in the public eye, Goucher has recently raised her voice to reveal the darkness behind the scenes of Nike’s elite running team. Goucher’s The Longest Race shows us how Nike’s project misunderstood what is really important about running: building community, fostering healthy competition, and persisting in life with athletics as natural, long-term motivation.
Through a telling memoir, journalist Mary Pilon helps Goucher expose Nike’s pattern of unhealthy coaching, tricky ways to avoid anti-doping laws, and sexual abuse of athletes. It’s a story about the necessary bravery it takes to raise your voice against unjust power too often wielded by seemingly unbeatable authorities. The Longest Race also reaffirms what is beautiful and unifying about long-distance running. Hopefully this insider story inspires more runners to raise their voice and move the sport in a better direction.