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278 of 302 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure excellence, but with a disclaimer
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...
Published on September 30, 2004 by Andrew

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139 of 172 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I hoped.
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,...
Published on May 8, 2009 by Ppbp


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278 of 302 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure excellence, but with a disclaimer, September 30, 2004
By 
Andrew (Baltimore, Md) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Once a Runner: A Novel (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
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59 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST book I've ever read!, January 8, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner: A Novel (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!
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139 of 172 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I hoped., May 8, 2009
By 
Ppbp (Tacoma, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Once a Runner: A Novel (Hardcover)
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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.
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44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just wail on, August 14, 2005
By 
Joe-sph (Stockbridge, MI) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Once a Runner: A Novel (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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a book every runner has to read, July 1, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner: A Novel (Paperback)
I stoped running for over a year because of an serious back injury (from track)but then I came to the US as an exchange student and decided to go out for track again. My season didn't went very well, my times were way of the my PRs from home and i struggeled with injuries and asthma. in the middle of the season one guy from my distance team had the book in the bus to a meet and I started reading and took it home to finish....( I'm not a miler but still practiced with the distance team)This day, even I hadn't finished it yet, I ran my PR for this season and never felt better in a race. It didn't matter to me anymore if I would place or what my time would be. I just felt proud to be there and to do what I loved to do for many years but lately I didn't mean anything to me anymore. I ran for myself and not for the people watching.It motivated me so much that I finished the season although I was close to quit a lot of times.I don't know if I can ever run track competitive again but I'll always keep running. Every time I don't want to put on my shoes and go for my daily run I remember Quentin and his intervale workouts and that we have to work hard to get somewhere in life. Why not starting with something easy like actually getting up early and finishing the morning workout?.....for me this book changed my life...
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Did I Miss This?, May 9, 2005
By 
This review is from: Once a Runner: A Novel (Paperback)
If you were a high school or college distance runner in the 70s or 80s, as I was, Once A Runner will provoke waves of nostalgia. Every character in the book will ring true and remind you of someone. As a runner since 1977 and a high school track and cross country coach for the past ten years, I'm not sure how I missed this gem.

Quenton Cassidy ran 60 440s in 63. Of course this is "not the way to train" in the words of one Amazon reviewer. Other manifestations of obsession and committment are not for us mere mortals either. I wouldn't reccomend climbing Mt. Everest . It is not the way to train for 99.9% of us. That is because most of us couldn't come close to accomplishing it. Bruce Denton, Cassidy's mentor, knew what it was all about. "Look, runners deal in discomfort. After you get past a certain point, thats all there really is". When he had completed the workout, Cassidy had learned some very important things about himself - things most of us will die without learning - but for those few seeking what Bruce Denton and Quenton Cassidy are seeking, essential things to know.

Once A Runner is the most useful and inspiring book on runnning out there. If you are a serious runner, you will find reassurance here. Your obsession will be validated. Let's face it, obsession scares us these days. We think of it as unbalanced. We all seek to be "well rounded". We need all the mental ammunition we can get sometimes to get through that 6 AM 23 miler in the rain. I want to thank John L. Parker for helping me to embrace my obsession and renew my commitment.
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gold Standard, November 24, 2002
By 
Z. Blume (St. Louis, MO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Once a Runner: A Novel (Paperback)
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.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once a Runner, Always a Runner, November 28, 2004
By 
Vincent Chan (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Once a Runner: A Novel (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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reality of running, August 17, 2005
This review is from: Once a Runner: A Novel (Paperback)
This book accurately describes everything I hated about track, and at the same time everything that I love about running. I have stopped competing in highly competitive meets, and now running is a joy to me. This book is a must read for any runner, triathlete, or dreamer.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Runner's Cult Book, July 23, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner: A Novel (Paperback)
The first time I read this book it was a friend's...worn and tattered, passed through the hands of my cross country team, loved and cherished by every runner I know. I now own it, and read it as often as possible. I never tire of Quentin Cassidy's quirky, resilient personality. The writing is phenomenal. I am a writer (who sometimes attempts to write about running), and Parker's metaphors are the example of the century. Oftentimes I will open the book to the best chapter, "The Interval Workout," and feel Cassidy's pain through Parker's near-poetic verse. There is no comparison between this life and the life of a treadmill runner. This is for those that itch to hit country roads, to run for miles and to pretend, just for a moment, that you are invincible. For the milers, for the sprinters, for the runners of the soul, read this book. You will love it.
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Once a Runner: A Novel
Once a Runner: A Novel by John L. Parker Jr. (Hardcover - April 7, 2009)
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