Saturday, December 01, 2007

Fictional Running Book Written by Local Coach

The book, 100 Miles to Destiny, was written by Serra Cross Country Coach Willis McCarthy. It was six and a half years in the making and worth the read.

"Mr. Will McCarthy, chemistry teacher and cross country coach at Serra High School in San Mateo, CA has a great story to tell – a story of passion, a story of the human spirit. So he says in the opening of his preface in his self-published work of fiction, 100 Miles to Destiny, a Novel on Running. McCarthy writes, “In the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred eighty-four, three hundred seventy men and women assembled at the base of Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe to participate in an inaugural 100 Mile Endurance Run World Championship. I was one of the participants. The 1984 race, the eighth edition of the Western States Trail Run, spawned the idea of this novel.” An avid runner for twenty-five years, Coach McCarthy has run races of half mile track runs to 100 mile endurance runs, and after concluding his running career in 2000 he took up writing. Taking creative writing classes at College of San Mateo, plus working part time on the novel for six years between his commitments of parenting, teaching and coaching, he completed the novel last summer.

The book’s setting is the Western States Trail, a trail Will is quite familiar with since he has run this particular race four times. The time is the 1984 Olympics hosted by the city of Los Angeles, and athletes have arrived at Squaw Valley, CA to compete in an inaugural event. The reader has the opportunity to experience the Western States Trail through an international cast of characters. McCarthy elaborates, “Character development was my most formidable task as I attempted to capture the essence of a nationality within an athlete running in an endurance run with a global audience. My intent was to take the reader not only to the trail, but also to the 1984 Olympics with all he details of an international competition. No question, the book represents the grandest undertaking of my life.”

Mr. McCarthy tried to find a suitable publisher and/or literary agent for the past three years with little success. “The few offers I received were from publishing or literary agencies that had inflated images of themselves and poor reputations to match when I made further inquiries. Since I could not let this project die I made the difficult decision to self-publish. There are so many obstacles and costs to self-publishing a novel and I’m still learning as I proceed.”

Twenty-two years ago in a small cottage near Moncrivello, Italia Will McCarthy sat at an antique wooden table and began writing notes about an Olympic 100 mile endurance run on the Western States Trail. Despite not pursuing his goal of writing the novel for fifteen years, thoughts and ideas continued to percolate until ultimately, he began his personal quest to bring the book to print. Now he has accomplished that and from early reports of readers he has indeed written a story of passion and spirit. Will concludes, “I think we all have a story to tell – this one happens to be mine.”

For more information about the novel or to purchase a copy of the paperback, contact Mr. Will McCarthy through his website:

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