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Once a Runner [Paperback]

John L., Jr. Parker
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
Price: £9.28 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

6 April 2010
ONCE A RUNNER IS AN INSPIRING, FUNNY, AND SPOT-ON TALE of one man’s quest to become a champion. Originally self-published in 1978 and sold at road races out of the trunk of the author’s car, the book eventually found its way into the hands of high school, college, and postgraduate athletes all over the country. Reading it became a rite of passage on many teams and tattered copies were handed down like sacred texts from generation to generation. Once a Runner captures the essence of what it means to be a competitive runner, to devote your entire existence to a single-minded pursuit of excellence. In doing so, it has become one of the most beloved sports novels ever published.

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Once a Runner + Running with the Kenyans: Discovering the secrets of the fastest people on earth + The Art of Running Faster
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company; 1 Reprint edition (6 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416597891
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416597896
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the greatest book of all times about running 11 Aug 1999
By A Customer
this book is the best book i've ever read about running. This books truly digs in to a runner's spirit and reveals it to the world. definitely a classic that shouldn't be missed by any running afficionado.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my top five favorite books of all time! 16 July 1999
By A Customer
Simply a great book. Nothing comes closer to explaining what it is like to run on a college team. I have read it at least 4 times and loved it every time.
John Parker has outdone all others when it comes to writing about running. I only wish it were longer!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best running novel I have ever read! 4 Jun 1997
By A Customer
Being an avid runner, I'm no stranger to reading running novels. Unfortunately, most of these books are written by people who simply chose to write about running and aren't runners themselves. They figured that by doing a little research, they can write with the proficiency of someone who has been running hard their entire life. Usually, their creative efforts wind up being ridiculous, because reading a novel about a high school runner breaking 3:40 in the mile seems a little extreme. This book, on the other hand, gets to the heart of the most serious runner. Parker recognizes and accentuates the highs of victory and the pitfalls of training. He brings to life the desire of a champion and the sacrifice needed to get to that level. This book is a must-read for any runner who is passionate about their sport. I enthusiastically give it a ten.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Parker lived and trained with Frank Shorter and Jack Bacheler and the other Florida Track Club greats of the early '70s. He captures that atmosphere perfectly. Bruce Denton is Bacheler, Kernsville is Gainesville, Dick Doobey is Doug Dickey, and Quenton Cassidy is... the author - in his dreams, or aspirations. Even better, his dreams become yours. I don't know any serious runner who doesn't love this book. It's at least 20 years old - ignore that 1987 publishing date, Parker self-published it earlier - and it still holds true, absolutely.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've never read a more inspirational book 8 July 1999
By A Customer
Once a runner is the most inspirational book about running that I have ever read. Currently I am on a Track and Cross Country team. This book totally helped me take my training up to the next level.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for all runners 7 Oct 1996
By A Customer
Want to know what makes a runner tick?
Read this'll be forever
changed. It describes a fictitious collegiate
track program with some very colorful
characters. Their tales and traumas
boil down the essence of running.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard going - and I couldn't make it to the end 5 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found the book a hard read - owing to the almost impregnable language represented as used by American college kids in the '70s. But what really put me off were some of the metaphors: 'Her neck smelled like a parakeet's tummy.' I'm unsure how that is supposed to assist the reader in obtaining a clearer understanding of how his girlfriend smelled.
I gave up at page 142 and the book now resides in a charity shop along with the sequel 'Again To Carthage' which I - unfortunately - purchased at the same time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Like running a Marathon..... 18 Nov 2013
......boring, tedious at the start, get to half way and check the watch knowing that you will have to start digging in soon, three quarters of the way through and things start to flow because of the slow start, digging in near the end as things get interesting and crossing the line in relief..... If you think that's how a marathon goes then you can read the same for this book.

I'm a runner and there was only 1 chapter about training that had me gripped, I simply don't understand where the rave reviews come from as I simply found it dull and boring at times but with just enough to keep me reading. There are snippets of humor and times when you dive into the mind of someone that puts everything on the line, but then just as it gets going it drops a mile at easy pace to keep you from going out too fast.

My wife picked it up and tried to read it too, she isnt a runner but has read my running books like "Running with the Kenyans" and "Born to Run" and enjoyed them, this one she put down after 50 pages.

Shame really
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoy this book
I really enjoy this book, easy to read and inspiring, Stright away i cared for the main character and of course I wanted him to win...
Published 1 month ago by lolita
5.0 out of 5 stars I happened upon the audiobook version first (which I highly recommend...
I am astounded by the negative reviews for this. I happened upon the audiobook version first (which I highly recommend - perfect for wiling away long journeys), and was so smitten... Read more
Published 2 months ago by D. Woosey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
i brought it for a present but the service was good
Published 3 months ago by Keith Carrington
5.0 out of 5 stars Super read if you know what it is like to make any effort to reach a...
Great read. If you have ever tried to train yourself to run any sort of distance goal and experienced the ups and downs this book will surely grip you.
Published 13 months ago by bill murray
1.0 out of 5 stars A Huge Disappointment
As a keen mid pack marathon runner I had such high hopes for this book after reading the excellent reviews here and on Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2012 by J. Lock
3.0 out of 5 stars Feels like a marathon in reverse
This book is like a marathon in reverse. It starts off weak and is quite painful to get through at times, but improves leading to a strong denouement (which is quite thrilling). Read more
Published on 28 Sep 2012 by December Hare
5.0 out of 5 stars truly unbelievable.
this is my first review here, so please bare with me.
it is a book where you read the first page, the second, the third, and keep going till you finish. it keeps you hooked. Read more
Published on 25 April 2011 by cyangarosa
5.0 out of 5 stars Draw a breath
As a casual, British "jogger" I was a little hesitant to enter the world of the great American collegiate track team. I got right over that on the first page. Read more
Published on 9 Feb 2011 by Josh
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful!!!
Such a boring book offering no inspiration, motivation or insight into running. Every character is a ridiculous eccentric with a stupid name (Dick Dooby, Brady Grapehouse, Quenton... Read more
Published on 2 Feb 2011 by Craig0657
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly inspiring and very well written
When my wife bought me this book for Christmas, I was expecting something written by an expert on running that would give me inspiration to umprove my running, but perhaps a bit... Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2011 by T. P. Cherrett
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