This critically acclaimed novel, first published in 1969, has for years been regarded as one of the true classics not only in the literature of footracing, but in general interest literature as well.
Glanville's beautifully portrayed relationship between runner Ike Low and the eccentric and charismatic coach Sam Dee has become a set piece in the tales of athletes: Rocky, Chariots of Fire, even Long Road to Boston owe a debt to this work.
There are echoes of Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner as well. You will be captivated by the story of the working-class stiff, Ike Low, as Sam Dee discovers him thrashing through inconsequential races, a mediocre sprinter at a local running club.
The first time I met him, I thought he was a nut case, said Ike of his coach.
You are built to run the mile, Dee told him. You are the perfect combination of ectomorph-mesomorph; long calves, lean, muscular thighs and arms, chest between thirty-seven and thirty-eight, and broad, slim shoulders. A miler is the aristocrat of running. A miler is the nearest to a thoroughbred racehorse that exists on two legs.
And thus begins the relationship that will transform Ike into one of the great distance runners in the world.