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Running Novels

Once a Runner John L. Parker Jr.
"Once a Runner is the best running book I have ever read. Unlike training guides or running stories that spend far too much time explaining the beauty of running and trying to introduce people to the wonders of jogging around, Once A Runner really goes into the life and mind of a runner (though the book uses fictional characters, they are easily recognizable and realistic). It describes the dedication, hard work, and goofiness that is required to be successful and what makes runners a very unique, though cetainly interesting breed. The story itself, of a young college-aged runner and his quest to run the fastest mile he could while in school and after he got kicked out, is extremely well paced and smootly written, just as a good race. It is a fantastic book and I would highly recommend it for beginners, enthusiasts, or someone who just needs a little motivation."
The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold
Based on the real-life experiences of Cliff Young (here portrayed as Johsua Summerhayes), this is the story of a 61-year-old Australian farmer who won a 542-mile foot race against younger and more traditionally and technologically trained opponents. The story opens with young Joshua eating pumpkins for energy and then running for the joy of it. When Josuha becomes a sheep farmer, he decides that he prefers to run out to the fields to check on his herds rather than use a jeep like the other farmers. One day, he sees an ad for the Melbourne to Sydney race, so he loads up a jeep with a pile of pumpkins and heads off. Kids should enjoy the idea of someone running a race on pumpkin power, and they will respond to Yellow Dog, Joshua's faithful companion. However, it is the oil-on-canvas illustrations that will really grab their attention. Sneed uses perspective and foreshortening in inventive ways, with human figures interestingly elongated. All of the art is suffused with a lively glow.
Again to Carthage John L. Parker Jr.
"John Parker's first novel Once a Runner is the cult novel for runners. Self-published in the late '70s, and for years sold out of the trunk of the author's car at running events, it went on to sell over 100,000 copies and achieve legendary status among runners, especially college and high school track and cross-country athletes. It perfectly captured the intensity, relentlessness and sheer lunacy of a serious miler's life. Kenny Moore of Sports Illustrated-himself an Olympic runner-called it "by far the best fictional portrayal of the world of a serious runner . . . a marvelous description of the way it really is." For over 25 years, fans of Once a Runner have wanted more. Parker has finally written the sequel, which begins in the early '70s where the previous book left off. The nation is mired in the dregs of Vietnam and the early intimations of Watergate. The protagonist of the first book, Quenton Cassidy, has lost his best friend and teammate from college, a helicopter gunship pilot who dies a horrific death after crashing in the jungle. Cassidy is plunged into a depressive spiral in which he is forced to re-examine his studiously carefree life as a single young attorney. A former Olympic silver medalist, some painfully won insights into his own life and into his family's deep roots in the red clay of North Carolina ultimately lead him back to competitive running in an unpredictable way and he finds to his surprise that his fierce competitiveness and uncanny running abilities have not much waned. Parker's writing style is as deep, knowing and captivating as ever. John L. Parker, Jr. is the author of Once a Runner, Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot and Runners & Other Dreamers. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida and Bar Harbor, Maine. "
Flanagan's run by Tom Mcnab
"This is a "lost classic" of the running book genre. Written in 1982, it's about a race across America in the 1930s, and is based on an actual race that occured in 1929. The cast of characters, including the unflappable promoter Flanagan, the veteran Doc Cole, the beautiful Kate Sheridan, the British Lord Thurleigh and more, all of whom have their own reasons for wanting to win, is very well drawn. Each of them is so interesting and likable that you're not sure who to root for. But best of all, the author, Tom McNab, a British Olympic coach, gets the running parts exactly right. I had doubts when I started to read it, but was pleasantly surprised. He captures the pain (physical and mental), the motivation, the commitment, and the satisfaction of running extremely well. Highly recommended."
Distant Runner by Bruce Glikin
Review by Ewen - Wombatface. What's amazing about Distant Runner is that an interest in running is no prerequisite for enjoying what really is an exquisitely crafted novel. The protagonist is Danny Murray, a disturbed child prodigy who, on a lonely road out of Eugene Oregon meets Gabe Seward, a former Olympic Trials runner. Glikin skilfully draws the reader into their outwardly different yet spiritually similar worlds. When reading Distant Runner I was taken on quite an unexpected journey. The unpredictability of the plot is what draws us in. You don't have to be a runner to enjoy Distant Runner. It's a novel that will appeal to all readers who love a great story..
Life at these speeds by Jeremy Jackson
This is a novel

This page last updated: Saturday 20 March 2010

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