Kara Goucher is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Longest Race, written with sports journalist, Mary Pilon. The book candidly recounts her experience with the Nike Oregon Project and coach Alberto Salazar and details the highs of her career: winning a World Championship medal and competing in the Olympics twice, along with the lows, and how she ultimately broke free of the powerful forces that controlled her career.
Goucher was born in Queens and grew up in Duluth, Minnesota. She began her running career at the University of Colorado where she was the NCAA Outdoor Champion in the 3000m and 5000m, the NCAA Cross Country Champion, and a 5000m Olympic Trials finalist. After graduating in 2001, Goucher’s performance continued to garner attention and she joined the prestigious Nike Oregon Project in 2004. In 2007, she won the Great North Run with a time under the American record for the half marathon. Goucher competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she placed 9th in both the 10,000m and 5000m. She made her marathon debut at the New York City Marathon in 2008, bringing home a bronze medal. She was the first American on the podium since 1994. She would go on to have similar success at the Boston Marathon the following year, finishing third. In 2011, Goucher split with Nike’s Oregon Project. She would go on to compete at the 2012 London Olympics and run the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Now, in her unvarnished and affecting memoir, she reveals her experience working with Nike and running coach Alberto Salazar, detailing a culture of abuse and misogyny. Among the many stunning revelations, Goucher explains that she was sexually assaulted by Salazar and helped to get him banned from coaching at the Olympic level. She also explores the challenges that elite female athletes face as they navigate a complex sports industry, including pay inequity, verbal and sexual abuse, misrepresentation in media, and pressure to use performance enhancing substances.
Since retiring from professional running, Goucher has served as an announcer at many races including the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. She runs a podcast with fellow marathon runner Des Linden called “Nobody Asked Us,” on which the two discuss topics related to running and elite performance. She also runs the “Clean Sport Collective” podcast, which promotes fair play in sports. She has become a crusader for female athletes, speaking publicly at events about her own experiences and the toxic culture at Nike. Goucher lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, fellow runner Adam Goucher, and their son.
- The Longest Race
The world silver medalist’s memoir lays bare why female athletes may never realize their full potential under systems still rife with inequity, abuse, and harassment . . . Goucher reveals just what she endured in order to achieve as much as she did in her running career . . . her transparency about so much of her career is what elevates this memoir as perhaps the most important contribution she’ll ever make to women’s sports.”
A track-and-field star pulls the lid off the big money behind corporate sponsorship of sports. Goucher makes a strong case against a powerful sports machine.”
In her new memoir, Goucher says for the first time publicly that she is the woman behind the sexual assault allegations that led to her former coach Alberto Salazar to be banned from the sport for life in 2021.”
—Good Morning America
Kara’s story is inspiring and powerful, and she shares it with vulnerability and honesty. This book has something for everyone, whether you’re a seasoned runner, just starting out, or don’t think you have any interest in running at all. A must-have for your bookshelf, it leaves you motivated, empowered, and ready to take on the world. Thank you, Kara, for sharing your story and reminding us all that we are stronger than we know.”
— Allyson Felix, seven-time Olympic gold medalist and twelve-time World Championship gold medalist
Stunning in its honesty and intimacy, The Longest Race is one of the most important athlete memoirs of its generation. Kara Goucher takes us inside a breathtakingly complex world, showing us the love and beauty of sport as well as its gruesome abuses of power, callous cruelty, and disregard for the athlete—specifically the female one.”
— Kate Fagan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen
A lightning-quick runner who would go on to become a two-time Olympian and the face of Nike, Kara had no idea that her 7 years with the Oregon Project would elevate her career to soaring new heights — and drag her into one of the darkest chapters of her life. In her explosive new memoir, Kara opens up about how she and [her husband] Adam helped expose Salazar — the once-beloved coach they regarded as a father figure.”
This must-read memoir for running fans is as interesting as it is important. Told from Kara’s vantage point as a distance running star, it also serves as a call to action for women and girls to tell their stories of abuse and power imbalances—hard as that may be—so they can give each other strength, push back as a flock, and make things better for the next wave.”
— Molly Huddle, two-time Olympian, American record holder in the half-marathon and 5,000 meters, and coauthor of How She Did It: Stories, Advice, and Secrets to Success from Fifty Legendary Distance Runners
The Longest Race is a striking reminder of the importance of using your voice. Kara’s courage to stand up against the powers that be has helped pave the way for change. Her book is essential reading for anyone who wants to make sports safe and fair for everyone.”
— Mary Cain, Founder of Atalanta NYC and 2014 World Junior Champion in the 3,000 meters
Both books — Goucher’s and [Lauren] Fleshman’s — should be victory laps for two celebrated runners. But that’s not the sort of book either woman set out to write. Each has produced something much grittier: a close-up look at the uncertain and often unhealthy climb toward stardom for women in organized sports.”
—The Washington Post
Goucher is finally telling the whole story of her experience at The Oregon Project in her book The Longest Race, written with sports journalist Mary Pilon . . . the details around how sexual and emotional abuse can be so expertly intertwined to convince victims not to seek help, and even question their own experiences, is a chilling, but necessary story.”
Reducing The Longest Race to the single story of assault would be a huge mistake . . . [it’s] a rare look inside the highest levels of the sport and its players . . . there are Olympic moments, inside scoops, sports industry revelations . . . Yes, athletes will love this book, but it’s also a memoir for anyone who has put their heart on the line.”
The distance runner’s new memoir details years of abuse and indignities in her sport . . . Goucher has much to be proud of, on and off the track. Perhaps we’ll remember her most for the voice she found to hold others to account, so that all of us, her son included, could believe in the sport she loved.”
—The Star Tribune
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