One of the better efforts to emerge from the explosion of running books: a collection of entertaining, insightful interviews-and-reminiscences by a world-class runner now on the staff of Sports Illustrated (where all but one of the pieces appeared). Moore leads off with the participants' view of the disastrous 1972 Munich Olympics, which ripped open all the old Olympic issues: the sports/politics mix, amateur vs. pro arguments, the performance of the press, the role and responsibilities of coaches. No conclusions here--just an aftertaste of sorrow and regret. Subsequent at-home interviews with runners--Sebastian Coe, Bill Rodgers, Grete Waltz--lend support to the idea that distance runners, as a group, tend to be more thoughtful and introspective than other types of athletes. (Moore even manages to draw more from those who've written their autobiographies.) Among the highlights: samples of Steve Prefontaine's ""celebrated fulminations""; an update on Roger Bannister's activities (and his arguments with the I.O.C.); closeups--through pieces on Uganda's John Akii-Bua, Tanzania's Filbert Bayi, and Ireland's Eamonn Coghlan--of what athletes and governments can mean to each other. Moore doesn't preach the joys of running or proselytize on the issues; rather, he's an effective observer/ reporter--even of elusive athletic humor--who provides an intriguing, unselfconscious view of a special world.