Synopses & Reviews
Originally self-published in 1978, Once a Runner
captures the essence of competitive running—and of athletic competition in general—and has become one of the most beloved sports novels ever published..
Inspired by the authors experience as a collegiate champion, the story focuses on Quenton Cassidy, a competitive runner at fictional Southeastern University whose lifelong dream is to run a four-minute mile. He is less than a second away when the turmoil of the Vietnam War era intrudes into the staid recesses of his schools athletic department. After he becomes involved in an athletes protest, Cassidy is suspended from his track team. Under the tutelage of his friend and mentor, Bruce Denton, a graduate student and former Olympic gold medalist, Cassidy gives up his scholarship, his girlfriend, and possibly his future to withdraw to a monastic retreat in the countryside and begin training for the race of his life against the greatest miler in history. .
A rare insiders account of the incredibly intense lives of elite distance runners, Once a Runner is an inspiring, funny, and spot-on tale of one mans quest to become a champion..
"There is a remarkable parallel between the pacing of this novel and a well-run race." -- Ed Ayres, Running Times
"The best novel ever written about running."--Runner's World
“The best piece of running fiction around. Beg, borrow, or buy a copy, and youll never need another motivator.” —Dave Langlais, Runners World
“By far the most accurate fictional portrayal of the world of the serious runner…a marvelous description of the way it really is.” —Kenny Moore, Sports Illustrated
“Part training manual, part religious tract, part love story, and all about running, Once a Runner is so inspiring it could be banned as a performance-enhancing drug.” —Benjamin Cheever, author of Strides
"Perhaps the best novel ever written about running. There are parts of Once a Runner that are pure poetry. I enjoyed it thoroughly and have never read descriptions of what it is to run and race as accurate and compelling as Parker's." -- Tom Jordan, Track and Field News
John L. Parker, Jr. has written for Outside, Runner's World, and numerous other publications. He was the Southeastern Conference mile champion three times, and the United States Track and Field Federation national champion in the steeplechase, and was the teammate of Olympians Frank Shorter, Jack Bacheler, and Jeff Galloway on several championship cross-country teams. A graduate of the University of Florida's College of Journalism as well as its College of Law, Parker has been a practicing attorney, a newspaper reporter and columnist, a speechwriter for then Governor Bob Graham, and editorial director of Running Times magazine. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, and Bar Harbor, Maine.
ONCE A RUNNER IS AN INSPIRING, FUNNY, AND SPOT-ON TALE of one mans quest to become a champion. Originally self-published in 1978 and sold at road races out of the trunk of the authors car, the book eventually found its way into the hands of high school, college, and postgraduate athletes all over the country. Reading it became a rite of passage on many teams and tattered copies were handed down like sacred texts from generation to generation. 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. In doing so, it has become one of the most beloved sports novels ever published.
About the Author
John L. Parker, Jr. has written for Outside, Runners World, and numerous other publications. A graduate of the University of Floridas College of Journalism as well as its College of Law, Parker has been a practicing attorney, a newspaper reporter and columnist, a speechwriter for then Governor Bob Graham, and editorial director of Running Times magazine. The author of Once a Runner, Again to Carthage, and Racing the Rain, he lives in Gainesville, Florida, and Bar Harbor, Maine.