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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 22 months ago 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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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
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
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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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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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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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
This review is from: Once a Runner (Paperback)
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
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
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Feels like a marathon in reverse, 28 Sep 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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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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Once a runner: A novel
Once a runner: A novel by John L Parker (Unknown Binding - 1978)
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