I play a small part (non speaking role) in the film.
Yes, it's cheesy.
Yes, it's a feel good movie.
However., there were some legit runners used in the scenes of the film. When you watch it, look in the background for people you may recognize. There were some great running people working on the race choreography, so there is some realism. As far as the pushing through, and the trash talk, etc, it's a stretch, but part of the formula for cheesy sports films.
It was originally scheduled for a Nov 2014 release, but a few months ago it was pushed back to February to be more competitive in the movie season. The state champs were filmed in LA about a year ago, and the film was completed in just a matter of weeks.
Jim White was on set a few times and was a nice guy.
Oh, another fun fact: for a team that is under-funded and beat down, they had some excellent uniforms (real nice Adidas gear) while everyone else had crap.