I recorded this book for our local Library several years ago, but it seems to have disappeared. The main character is a teenage boy. He lives with his father who publishes an underground newspaper articles about life in this country and sends them out to his daughter who is a college student in “Freelandia” (I think that is the name assigned to what is the USA.) In the country where the boy lives, one route to escaping poverty is success as a runner, but first he needs shoes good enough to train. There is a group of runners who use a training route preparing for competition, and he is singled out from this group by an older man, apparently one who is a member of some sort of crime syndicate, who will give him money for the shoes in advance, but basically own his soul going forward.
The boy wants to win the race in order to escape the country, which sounds a lot like Cuba or Venezuela. The plot involves danger, maybe murder of his family, danger to his sister, and finally he finds help from a librarian.