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Comment: Book is in very good condition. It may have some slight wear and possibly include a previous owner's name. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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Once a Runner: A Novel Paperback – April 6, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 377 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Part training manual, part religious tract, part love story, and all about running, Once a Runner is so inspiring it could be banned as a performance-enhancing drug.” —Benjamin Cheever, author of Strides

“By far the most accurate fictional portrayal of the world of the serious runner…a marvelous description of the way it really is.” —Kenny Moore, Sports Illustrated

“The best piece of running fiction around. Beg, borrow, or buy a copy, and you’ll never need another motivator.” —Dave Langlais, Runner’s World

"The best novel ever written about running."--Runner's World

From the Publisher

Truly a cult classic. Now in its 8th Printing! --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 Reprint edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416597891
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416597896
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (377 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John L. Parker, Jr. has written for Outside, Runner's World, and numerous other publications. He was the Southeastern Conference mile champion three times, and the United States Track and Field Federation national champion in the steeplechase, and was the teammate of Olympians Frank Shorter, Jack Bacheler, and Jeff Galloway on several championship cross-country teams. A graduate of the University of Florida's College of Journalism as well as its College of Law, Parker has been a practicing attorney, a newspaper reporter and columnist, a speechwriter for then Governor Bob Graham, and editorial director of Running Times magazine. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, and Bar Harbor, Maine.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are 87 other reviews here, so all I will do is offer the following breakdown for people interested in buying this book. Put yourself in one of these categories:

a) Competative runners: this is an increadible book, period. The best part about it is reading about a little tiny nuance in Quenton's running life and saying to yourself, "I know exactly what he's talking about, wow", which will happen literally hundreds of times. Your hopefully already-substantial appreciation for the sport will likely increase tenfold with this book.

b) The casual runner, recreational, or other athlete: this is an excellent book and is very highly reccomended. You probably will not appreciate it to it's fullest extent, but there are aspects of the story and how it is told that will be enjoyed by anyone with the capacity for excitement from sports or human physical endeavors.

c) The non-athlete: this book may not make sense to you. Not in the literary sense, but it may seem as though there is little direction in the story, and you might read it and then find yourself thinking that nothing interesting really happened, and you are not really to blame for this. There is still a good chance that you will find it enjoyable, but if you are looking for a piece of literature based on traditional merits (plot, character development, etc) there are likely better books out there for you to spend time on.

Clearly I thought this book was one of the best I've ever read. However, I hope this breakdown about who in particular might enjoy it the most was helpful.

-Andrew
6 Comments 329 of 356 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on January 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm a sophomore in highschool and I'm also a extremely dedicated cross-country and track runner. This book has changed my life! The inspirational story of Quenton Cassidy's runner career left me breathless! The first chapter gave me goose-bumps because it decribed the start of a race perfectly. I read chapters from the book every night before a big race. Reading about Cassidy's determination gives any runner a boost. This book has to have the most accurate description of a runners mentality ever written. This is the best book about running I've ever read!
3 Comments 66 of 77 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
The book was great, easily one of the best I've ever read. The only times I ever put it down were to eat, sleep and run. There was one quote from Cassidy that i feel sums up the book, the main character, and competative running. I don't know how some one can read this and not be in the mood to run. "It's a simple choice: We can all be good boys and wear our letter sweaters around and get our little degrees and find some nice girl to settle, you know, down, with...take up what a friend of ours calls the hearty challenges of lawn care...Or we can blaze! Become legends in our own time, strike fear in the heart of mediocre talent everywhere! We can scald dogs, put records out of reach! Make the stands gasp as we blow into an unearthly kick from three hundred yards out! We can become God's own messenger delivering the dreaded scrolls! We can race dark Satan himself till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straightaway! They'll speak our names in hushed tones, 'Those guys are animals' they'll say! We can lay it on the line, bust a gut, show them a pair of clean heels. We can sprint the turn on a spring breeze and feel the winter leave our feet. We can, by God, let our demons loose and just wail on!"
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you're thinking of buying this book because you like to run and think it will be about the love of running or anything even remotely like that, don't bother. I'm 38 and have run throughout my adult years after I stopped smoking in my 20's. Running has always represented so many different things to me - about goal setting, accomplishing what I thought wasn't possible, and about the meditative nature of the journey of the long run and being alone with my thoughts while purifying my body.

This isn't a book about any of that. This is a book about the elite runner and the near-mythic life they lead and the select group of running gods they surround themselves with (poorly written in a high-school-and-college-were-the-best-years-of-my-life kind of way replete with fraternal shenanigans and the smugness of the naturally gifted). People like me are dismissed in the first chapter as pathetic specimens using running to achieve some other ends that people like the author just can't comprehend.

I'm not knocking all of the work these elite athletes do, and realize it's not all just handed to them, but the tone of this book is just off. Instead of opening up that world and exploring, this book just has the feel of exclusion and exclusiveness. I'm definitely not inspired.
17 Comments 161 of 207 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
"Once a Runner" is the ultimate book for anyone who runs for any reason. Whether it be for sport or for fitness, the book will connect with any runner on multiple levels about the hardships of running and the sheer determination that we all possess. Runners are a different breed, and "Once a Runner" exemplifies that in a way that no other book has accomplished.

"Once a Runner" follows Quenton Cassidy through grueling workouts and hardships in his social life. It describes the sacrifices he makes in order to continue running and highlights both our accomplishments as runners in training and our failures as runners in competition. This novel defines the things that are important in life and the things that are superficial through a metaphor that is so moving that no other book about running could even deem itself comparable.

A must-read, especially for every runner.
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