This is the story of Ralph Walker, a 14-year-old who in 1954 outran everyone's expectations in his bold quest to win the Boston Marathon. His seriously ill mother knows he is waiting to explode into greatness, except that he has no idea where that greatness will manifest itself. Then, an unfortunate incident of self-abuse in the community pool inadvertently points him in the right direction. As penance for his actions, Ralph is conscripted to the cross-country team. Desperate to believe a miracle will bring his mother out of a coma, Ralph becomes a convert to the church of running and sets his sights on winning the Boston Marathon.