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Virgin Territory

The Story of Craig Virgin, America’s Renaissance Runner

Randy Sharer

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  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.00" x 9.00"
  • ISBN: 978-0-9965065-0-2
  • Publication Date: 2017-08-08
  • Randy L. Sharer

Availability: Forthcoming, Due 08/2017

Available Formats

Hardcover$28.00
Paperback$18.00

Virgin Territory

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Nearly 40 years ago, Craig Virgin had enough confidence to think he could dominate American distance running in all its forms. For three years, he did just that while displaying the spirit of a renegade and the soul of a champion.

He remains the only U.S. male to win the world cross country title, a feat he accomplished twice. At every stage of his journey to the top in cross country, track, and road racing, he hurdled roadblocks which cut short the careers of many contemporaries.

Virgin Territory: The Story of America’s Renaissance Runner provides a thrilling look at the rough-and-tumble running boom of the 1970s and 80s when Craig competed against legends such as Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Nick Rose, Rod Dixon, Greg Meyer, and Herb Lindsay many times and once raced the late great Steve Prefontaine. Craig would be better known if not for the Olympic boycott of 1980, the year he ran the world’s fastest 10K.

The son of an Illinois farmer, he survived a life-threatening health scare as a youngster. Those now making road race participation boom again will be inspired by this overlooked legend, who helped transform his sport from amateur to professional.


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"I have known Craig for over 40 years and found him to be a fierce competitor. Craig carried the mantel for distance running that Steve Prefontaine had held for many years, breaking Pre's American 10K track record along the way. However, it was Craig's versatility on all surfaces that set him apart from anyone else." – Nick Rose, two-time British Olympian and former half marathon world record holder.


"Craig Virgin should be remembered as one of America's greatest distance runners along with Prefontaine, Shorter, and Rodgers. And now Randy Sharer tells the story of this talented, confident, sometimes arrogant farm boy from Lebanon, Illinois, who at a young age set extraordinary goals for himself and then went on to achieve them. If you run to stay fit, lose a few pounds or stand atop the podium, this book is sure to inspire you." – George A. Hirsch, chairman of the New York Road Runners, a founder of the New York City Marathon, former worldwide publisher of Runner's World.

Randy Sharer

Since 1981, Randy Sharer has been a sports journalist for the Bloomington (IL) Pantagraph newspaper, serving as the track and cross country beat writer. He has won awards from the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association and the Illinois Press Association. A runner himself, Randy set school records in junior high, high school, and college. He graduated with a degree in English from Illinois Wesleyan University.

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