One of my spare-time passions is reading and I’m mostly a fiction guy. One of my best running friends is an avid reader and a few years ago she was kind enough to send me a vintage copy of John L. Parker’s classic running novel “Once a Runner”.
Author John Parker is a former competitive track athlete, having run and trained with some of the great University of Florida teams during the 1970s. Gainesville, Florida was the running place to be back in the early days of the running boom.
“Once a Runner” is a very accessible story, even if you’re not a Track & Field enthusiast. It tells the story of Quentin Cassidy, a young mile runner who sets the lofty goal of becoming a world-class champion. Beautifully written, “Once a Runner” is a darn good story and I enjoyed how Parker is able to relate the “agony and ecstasy” of training and competing at the highest level. The story is much more about the interesting characters and human fortitude than it is about the technical aspects of training and competing.
I’m a slow reader and this book was a quick, interesting read, even for me. After being out of print for a number of years, “Once a Runner” is readily available again and if you enjoy running and great writing, you’ll love this book.