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Once a Runner: A Novel Paperback – 27 Aug 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 Reprint edition (27 Aug. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416597891
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416597896
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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

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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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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). In essence therefore it gets 2/3 stars for the first half and 4/5 for the latter. My overall rating reflects the fact that I am runner - my feeling being that if you aren't a runner you probably will come away feeling less than enthused about it.

The story follows a university student (Quenton Cassidy) and his running team mates through a period of heavy training during which they are embroiled in a sporting controversy which leads to Cassidy being sidelined on the track just when the world mile record holder is going to be competing at a local meet. Can he get himself readmitted onto the track and if not will he miss this date with destiny? Sorry for being a little vague here- but I think giving away too much of the plot will ruin the story.

The story is sold in certain quarters at "part training manual...religious tract...love story," so let me say at this juncture that if you want a training manual read 'The Lore of Running', if you want a religious tract try an actual Holy Text; as for love story...I'm not sure that a character actually explicitly expresses love or ardour at any point in the book! It's all about running...and if you like running you will probably enjoy it.

But it does have quite a few weaknesses. The central characters are very weakly pencilled in and I found it hard to sympathise with Cassidy for much of the book- we don't learn about his background and near death experience until we are almost 3/4 of the way through the book. As a a result its hard to really care about what happens to him.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on 7 Oct. 1996
Format: Paperback
Want to know what makes a runner tick?
Read this book...you'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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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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Format: Paperback
......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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Format: 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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