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The Ghost Runner: The Tragedy of the Man They Couldn't Stop [Paperback]

Bill Jones
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
Price: £10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 July 2011

The mystery man threw off his disguise and started to run. Furious stewards gave chase. The crowd roared.

A legend was born. Soon the world would know him as 'the ghost runner'. John Tarrant. The extraordinary man whom nobody could stop. As a hapless teenage boxer in the 1950s, he'd been paid £17 expenses. When he wanted to run, he was banned for life. His amateur status had been compromised. Forever. Now he was fighting back, gatecrashing races all over Britain. No number on his shirt. No friends in high places. Soon he would be a record-breaker, one of the greatest long-distance runners the world has ever seen.

This is his true story: The Ghost Runner.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing; Reprint edition (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845966066
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845966065
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A terrific story - a comic strip hero made flesh, with all the human complications that entails" (Daily Mail)

"Tarrant's poignant story is wonderfully refreshing and beautifully told" (The Sun)

"A fantastic story of the underdog" (Metro)

"Makes fascinating reading" (Manchester Evening News)

"Bill Jones used to make documentaries, and he retains that discipline's eye for telling details and evocative shots" (The Times)

Book Description

The true and heartbreaking story of a man the world came to know as The Ghost Runner

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By Dj Pike
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Despite being a runner for many years, and a sports fan for all of my life, I had never heard of John Tarrant prior to being introduced to this book. Having now completed Bill Jones' biography of the man I find this quite surprising, and also find it rather amazing that it has taken over 35 years since his sad premature passing for someone to tell the story (apart from the publication of Tarrant's own memoirs in the late 1970's).

For those as much in the dark as me John Tarrant was, in short, a talented long distance runner who in the late 1950s was barred from amateur running competitions by the authorities of the day after (rather foolishly, in hindsight) owning up to recieving a grand total of £17 for contesting boxing matches in his local town. He then took it upon himself to turn up and compete in races anyway, without an official entry, and was subsequently dubbed 'The Ghost Runner'. Haunted by exclusion in one way or another for the rest of his life, he eventually found himself immersed in the world of ultra distance running (i.e. much longer than a Marathon!).

Bill Jones describes beautifully how a single punitive act could come to dominate one man's thinking, almost to the exclusion of everything else (e.g. employment, his family life), and yet also be a significant driving force behind some astounding feats of endurance. The story is told largely chronologically from Tarrant's troubled childhood to his early passing, skillfully intertwining many interesting (real) characters along the way; and by the end of the book Jones' really has you rooting for his man. No punches are pulled however (no pun intended, honest) with the author leaving the reader in no doubt that his subject was often a difficult and troubled man.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book! 6 July 2011
By jenny j
Bill Jones has created a poignant book which vividly recreates the life of this talented athlete whose life was so blighted by the establishment. The story is well written and I was so involved I stayed up into the night to finish it. You would be a hardhearted person not to be moved by the life and death of this incredible man. Read it - you will not be disappoined.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, absorbing, powerful....truly tragic 6 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wept when I'd finished this book. The story is so tragic and engrossing, it's almost impossible to believe it's true. For a few quid earned as a teenage boxer, this man's dreams were ruined by people who should have known better. Some of the stories and characters in it are amazing. Definitely not just a book for sports-lovers either. I honestly couldn't put it down. Great stuff. A 100% recommend.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When's the film coming out!? 11 July 2011
I try not to make a habit of weeping in coffee shops, but the final pages of this moving book had me sobbing into my cappuccino. This story of heart-wrenching injustice and steely determination to triumph over seemingly insurmountable obstacles transcends sport. I doubt there is an individual out there that would not be inspired by this epic true story, and surely everyone can relate to this working-class hero. Brilliantly written. Impossible to put down. Put this to the top of your 'to read' list NOW!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strongly Recommend... 21 July 2011
By benb
Not big on biographies and certainly not big on extreme running, but picked up 'The Ghost Runner' on holiday and couldn't put it down until I'd finished.

Like all the most compelling sports stories, it's the human story beneath the statistics that really intrigues.

The portayal of Tarrant as an angry young man of the 50s, frustrated by the lingering and hypocrital class system that he percieved denied him the right to fulfil his potential is apt. Though it's also clear Tarrant was no 'working-class hero': the writer's unromanticised narrative leaves the reader in no doubt about the destructive consequences of Tarrant's obbsession to compete at the highest level.

Jones' prose is crisp, economical and always engaging. The accompanying photos illuminate further the tragic nature of Tarrant's life and death.

So, if you're an athlete searching for big race inspiration or just someone who enjoys a thoroughly good read- I recommend this book. Enjoy!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read 15 July 2011
By JohnT2
I have recently read this book and found it a truly difficult book to put down, it is very fast paced and although it deals with a lot of running aspects it is more of a human interest story than a sports publication. I do think that people from a running background will appreciate the (phenomenal) level of training and dedication more than non runners but I don't think that this will detract from the overall story. There are a wide range of emotions throughout the book; the descriptions about the places that John Tarrant ran around, worked at or lived in really draw you in to the feeling of the book. The ending is very emotive, it leaves a strong feeling of unfairness and a very conclusive feeling that the ban and continued disregard of `the ghost runner' were massive perversions of justice, I really enjoyed this book and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ghost Runner 23 July 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Unbelievable story hard to realise that it is fact not fiction couldnt put the book down and have to admit it made me cry and i already knew alot of the story ............. what a film it would make .....JTs wife Edie is an amazing lady as well .
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story
This is a really good book and an amazing story. It gets a little bit repetitive at times but that was part of John Tarrant's struggle - Well worth reading
Published 14 days ago by O. Stacey
5.0 out of 5 stars If only he had been around today.
Heartbreaking story of hypocrisy and bureaucracy in the athletics world on days gone by.
Published 2 months ago by brookwood1971
5.0 out of 5 stars What a man.
Fantastic tale. One of the few times I stop everything and read straight though.
Published 2 months ago by Buggerlugs
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill
Great story, brilliantly told by Bill Jones.
Bill... I am Ray Matthews, author of Me and My Shadow, I am coming to the end of my second book, and would , because of my own... Read more
Published 3 months ago by ray mathews
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous read - as a human story, not just a specialist running...
I was a serious runner as a teenager in the sixties, so remember some of the names, but I was very impressed at the quality of this book - it gives a vivid picture of the actual... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Peter Wright, Banbury
5.0 out of 5 stars great story
bought this for my hubby as he had run the London marathon and he could not put it down! He said it was a fascinating story and has lent it to others to read.
Published 4 months ago by jules
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but lengthy
Very interesting read in an area I know little about....but too lengthy....and how I feel for his long suffering wife!
Published 4 months ago by DesperateMum
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
A really unusual account full of all those little details that club athletes like to chew over when they meet.
Published 4 months ago by anon 337
5.0 out of 5 stars great read for runners
Inspirational book! Worth the read as it will make you want to run and run and run and run and run again!
Published 6 months ago by Eef van Gestel
5.0 out of 5 stars Best sports story
Must be the best sports story you could ever read. You will not want to put this down. I bought this as a present for my brother. He read it in 3 days
Published 6 months ago by younger brother
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