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Virgin Territory

The Story of Craig Virgin, America's Renaissance Runner

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.