John Baker emerges as a fine runner while in High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then continues setting records at the University of New Mexico. His ability is world-class, and after receiving his university degree he accepts a position as a coach and physical education teacher at Aspen Elementary School while continuing to train (with the 1972 Olympics in sight). He becomes very popular with parents and students alike, for seeking ways to involve all his students, even those with an apparent lack of ability. Learning that he has terminal cancer he contemplates suicide, but instead chooses to dedicate himself even more to the kids, helping even the handicapped to participate, and co-founding and coaching the Duke City Dashers, an all-girl AAU track team. He hopes his "last race"...already beating the odds by a year, will not end before seeing this team win the national title.