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48 Reviews
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 (40)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
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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
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother unless you're a glutton for punishment
This book is not only poorly written, but annoying as well. Weak plot, poor character development, and a portrayal of runners as self-obsessed egomaniacs results in a book of marginal quality. "Runners World" is more inspiring, uplifting, interesting, and better written than this book. The author should stick to running or writing non-fiction.
Published on 7 Feb 1998


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best depiction of what running is all about!!!, 12 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
john parker associates this book so closely to what running really feels like it is incredible, the best book I HAVE EVER READ!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother unless you're a glutton for punishment, 7 Feb 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
This book is not only poorly written, but annoying as well. Weak plot, poor character development, and a portrayal of runners as self-obsessed egomaniacs results in a book of marginal quality. "Runners World" is more inspiring, uplifting, interesting, and better written than this book. The author should stick to running or writing non-fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enteraining romp through the life of a collegiate runner., 28 Aug 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
I found this book very entertaining to read. It is a story about a college trackstar attempting to beat the 4:00 mile. Definately a book for runners, probably won't appeal and may be confusing to those of a normal disposition.

Quite readable, however some transitions were difficult to follow, and some metaphors, while entertaining, were not very clear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary Good, 14 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
An unbelievable read. Crazy good. The most incredible account of a competitive runner that I have ever laid eyes on. This book lights a spark like nothing else. The first time I read this book I was laid up with the flu. What a mistake that was. I got even sicker as I trudged out of bed to go run. This book will do it to you.
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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 Sep 2012
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Draw a breath, 9 Feb 2011
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
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. I found myself drawn into every run, every mile, "every inch", as John L. Parker Jr. puts it. I must admit it truly got to me and left me breathless in the finale. Blistering stuff!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly inspiring and very well written, 2 Jan 2011
By 
T. P. Cherrett "Tim" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
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 dull at times. But it is far better than that. It is a fabulously well-written book. Wryly funney, superbly descriptive, a real page-turner. Worth reading by not just crazy runners, but anyone who loves a right rollocking read. The "Reading group guide" at the end made me consider all the finer points of the book, which, as a bit of a slowcoach, I hadn't fully grasped. Excellent on all levels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fan of Good Literature", 14 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
I would beg to differ with claims that this is not "literature" and that the author is "more coach than writer." Parker knows how to use language, how to capture the mood and movement of running, even how to reach into the runner's being at a purely formal level. I admit that the work is very inconsistent, but the fragments that do work give this novel its amazing potential to transform and inspire. If your idea of good literature is limited to the likes of John Irving, Dan Brown, and Barbara Kingsolver, then yes, perhaps you shouldn't read this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely moving book. Every word is beautiful., 6 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
Once a Runner is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. It perfectly captures the trials of a runner. It is very inspirational and reminds the reader of the reason one runs. It is a runner's bible and can be reread over and over again. 5 stars, no question.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For every high school or college runner, 25 Sep 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
This is the best inspirational running book for any competative runner. If you are having a low point in your training, want a good read, or want something to start a fire in your gut before a big race, THIS IS THE BOOK!
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Once a Runner
Once a Runner by John L., Jr. Parker (Paperback - 6 April 2010)
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