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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the greatest book of all times about running
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.
Published on 11 Aug. 1999

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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). 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...
Published on 28 Sept. 2012 by December Hare


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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 review is from: Once a Runner (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply the best book on the world of serious runners., 10 April 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner (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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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
This review is from: Once a Runner (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Feels like a marathon in reverse, 28 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
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. Similarly his budding romance is so vaguely dealt with that when he breaks up with his girlfriend you almost don't know it has happened. A lot of the language in other parts is also so abstract and abstruse that you struggle to figure out what characters are really getting at.

Certainly the book has its quirky and laugh out loud funny bits, and I think that there is a certain Catch-22 feeling about some of the absurd and pompous characters that inhabit the pages.

When I got to the end, I realised that there was a sequel and read the excerpts (2 chapters) supplied and found that it seemed to be better written than the original and so will probably go ahead and read it.

Is this, as the cover says, "the best novel ever written about running"?- well it's hard to say given its the only novel about running that I have read- but its certainly one I wont forget and may even read again after an interval.
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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
This review is from: Once a Runner (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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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
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
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
By 
M. Hadley "MH" (Guildford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Once a Runner (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Runner's Cult Book, 23 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book without words., 18 Oct. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
On the van ride to a meet two days ago, a teammate threw the book at me and said, "Here freshman, read this. You got 'til we get back tomorrow." I finished it with hours to spare on the van ride. Parker wrote without words...you read this book, and you don't think that Parker understands writing about running...you think that Parker understands running. I've never seen anything yet that came so close to the truth; he knew my pain and love, and he captured it seemingly without difficulty. And now, I go to order my own copy of the book...one that I can underline MY own favourite parts, and write my inspirational messages inside the covers!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "There is no secret", 25 Mar. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
I've been involved in the sport since 1972, and I learned more about training from this novel than from all the books on training theory I've ever read... and as a coach, athlete, and fan, I've read plenty. Parker portrays a world of a true champion -- one in which we spend our time actually training rather than just thinking about it. In short, "There is no secret." The chapter entitled "Breaking Down" captures the true runner's zeitgeist as nothing else ever has. But it's not just an elitist's novel; it's an exciting story that captures heart and soul devotion to excellence. I re-read the book whenever I need a mental boost.
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Once a Runner
Once a Runner by John L., Jr. Parker (Paperback - 6 April 2010)
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