288 pages, 8.44 × 5.5 × 1 in
April 7, 2009
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1416597883
ISBN - 13: 9781416597889
About the Book
Originally self-published in 1978 and now in hardcover for the first time, "Once a Runner" is by far the most accurate fictional portrayal of the world of the serious runner . . . a marvelous description of the way it really is ("Sports Illustrated").
Read from the Book
1. Once... The night joggers were out as usual. The young man could see dim figures on the track even in this pale light, slowly pounding round and round the most infinite of footpaths. There would be, he knew, plump, determined-looking women slogging along while fleshy knees quivered. They would occasionally brush damp hair fiercely from their eyes and dream of certain cruel and smiling emcees: bikinis, ribbon-cuttings, and the like. And then, of course, tennis with white-toothed males, wild tangos in the moonlight. And men too of various ages and levels of dilapidation, perhaps also grinding out secret fantasies (did they picture themselves a Peter Snell held back only by fat or fear as they turned their ninety-second quarters?). The young man stood outside the fence for a few moments while moths attacked the streetlight dustily, leaving him in a dim spotlight of swirling shadows. He loved early fall in Florida's Panhandle. Leaves would be turning elsewhere but here the hot breath of summer held forth. In the moist warmth there was a slight edge, though, a faint promise of cooler air hanging in the treetops and close to the Spanish moss. He picked up his small travel bag and went in the gate, walking clockwise on the track toward the white starting post at the head of the first turn. The joggers ignored the stranger in street clothes and he likewise paid them no attention. They would always be there. The high-jump pit had been rearranged, a new section of bleach
From the Publisher
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, 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. It ranked as the number one most sought-after out-of-print book in the United States in 2007.
Once a Runner is the story of Quenton Cassidy, a collegiate runner at fictional Southeastern University whose lifelong dream is to run a four-minute mile. He is less than a second away when the political and cultural turmoil of the Vietnam War era intrudes into the staid recesses of his school's 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: a head-to-head match with the greatest miler in history. This book is a rare insider's account of the incredibly intense lives of elite distance runners; an inspiring, funny, and spot-on tale of one man's quest to become a champion.
"The best piece of running fiction around. Beg, borrow, or buy a copy, and you'll never need another motivator." -- Dave Langlais, Runner's World