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Once a Runner: A Novel Hardcover – April 7, 2009
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"The best novel ever written about running." -- Runner's World
"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: Running Through History with an Unlikely Athlete
"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
"There is a remarkable parallel between the pacing of this novel and a well-run race." -- Ed Ayres, Running Times
"Perhaps the best novel ever written about running. There are parts of Once a Runner that are pure poetry. I enjoyed it thoroughly and have never read descriptions of what it is to run and race as accurate and compelling as Parker's." -- Tom Jordan, Track & Field News
"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
About the Author
John L. Parker, Jr. has written for Outside, Runner’s World, and numerous other publications. 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. The author of Once a Runner, Again to Carthage, and Racing the Rain, he lives in Gainesville, Florida, and Bar Harbor, Maine.
Top customer reviews
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The story is captivating. The writing is brilliant. I can't believe this book was written in 1978 and I have just read it in 2016.
Parker however does a wonderful job in developing characters that are easily related to and understood so that even non-runners would be absorbed by the story. At points it was a little predictable however I still had more than enough times reading "just one more page..." to find out what happened next. A classic for all the right reasons.
If you run or ever run and gone through the rigors of training for a race, read this book!
Would have been a 5 star book except for the writing style on the first few chapters.
It is a great book about running, no question. It's a book about a miler in probably the late 70s who trains a lot and is very fast. I won't say more than that lest I give something away. We hear about his training, his relationships with fellow runners, and his girlfriend. There are tidbits thrown in about great runners of the time - Frank Shorter, for example. This leads me to one of the reasons I feel this book isn't the best every written about running. It's a bit dated. Many things about running don't change - the importance of lots of miles, for example. However, the competitive landscape has changed completely, so for a young(er) person, reading this book is a bit like reading historical fiction.
Still, the races are exciting and the characters compelling. If you like to run, this is a must-read. My favorite book about running, though? Running With the Buffaloes.