Once a Runner
Once a Runner captures the essence of what it means to be a competitive runner; to devote your entire existence to a single-minded pursuit of excellence. It has become one of the most beloved sports novels ever written. Originally self-published in 1978 and sold at road races out of the trunk of the author’s car, reading the book became a rite of passage for many runners,...more
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The beginning nearly killed me with the author’s seemingly needful sense to try to impress us with his constant use of obscure words. It nearly handicapped the book as each sentence read as though he used a book of synonyms to replace simpler everyday language to build up his writing? I very nearly gave up and just walked away.
However, if you can plow through his obscure writing structure (and thoug ...more
Bullhonkey. This book read like a high school writing assignment. Belabored dialogue, cardboard characters, clunky prose. The two chapters on racing at the end were exciting and contained the true heart of the book, bu ...more
The former Dallas Baptist University cross country runner who loaned it to me said it was a "cult running book". I was eager to see what type of book runners would form a hidden fan base around.
Unfortunately, and quite predictably, the running enthusiast's choice of fiction is a book that enthuses about running. A book that describes running accurately and compares most everything in life to running, and features characters who run o ...more
But this is not just a runner's book. in fact it is now one of my all time favorite books period.
Set in an university during the 70's the book is about a nonconformist runner who loves to think for himself and loves to run. A sample early passage:
...the runners kept up ...more
Apparently this book has been a cult classic for years ...more
"His daily toil was arduous; satisfying on the whole, but not the bounding, joyous nature romp descri ...more
I'm not a runner and never have been a runner, but I couldn't put the book down. I love to be immersed in a world about which I know nothing, and this book was a revelation. Reading it was probably the closest I'll ever get to knowing what it must be like to be an athlete in top condition. To have demons that "make you want to run through the jungle . . . cover countryside at a clip, slide by in the night like a scuttling cloud . . . ...more
I'm glad I read this book!
With plenty of wit, John Parker manages to describe all the ineffable little facets of running that make it wonderful, but also very confusing at times. It's a pleasure to read how Quentin, the protagonist, feels about 120 mile weeks, b ...more
Now as someone who isn't or wasn't ever competitive it was hard to understand. They don't always explain the details of something so you shake your head and just ...more
Reading this book reminded me of stepping into my grandparents house and going to their limited bookshelf and finding the one book that was not written by some 1960s 1970s christian minister. The style of writing in this novel is very dated and it is amazing to see how literature and fiction can be identified with certai ...more
I am not a runner, but have been an athlete and can tell you the experience Parker relates transcends any particular sport, so you may resonate with this, whether a runner or not. I remember that feeling~! It was right after college, when Ron Wilkes proposed we work together on a pair. I felt very strong, agonized anticipating the work that would be required, fin ...more
I have been active most of my life...all kinds of sports, but mostly basketball and soccer, but about two years I started to run for exercise. I ran first on a treadmill and then on the ...more
The author is clearly more a passionate runner th ...more
It is not often that the emotions of the distance runner are described. These emotions remain hidden, out of sight for the average person. To dedicate themselves to something so hard, so burdening, would be a waste of their time. Few understand the unique breed that is the distance runner. I, a cross-country man myself, didn’t understand for nearly sixteen years. I once thought of running as a waste of time. I thought of it as cruel. I thought of it as unrewarding and unprod ...more
Needless to say, my expe ...more
The other thing I wasn't a fan of were all the weird unexplained, somewhat unnecessary asides the author threw in. Why was Mizner in the hospital? Who cares if Andrea has a twin? What do I care about ...more
This book is the story of a college runner who gets suspended for protesting the Vietnam War. So Cassidy-said runner-left his scholarship, girlfr ...more