My mom gave me this book back during the Holidays but I didn’t get the chance to read it until our trip to Miami. Since it’s been called “the best novel ever written about running” by Runner’s World, I figured it’d be fun to review it here, on my running blog
Be warned: It’s a bit slow and confusing at first but (just like the mile-race the main character competes in) it finishes strong.
**Did you catch that sweet metaphor (Simile? Grammar is not my forte) I just did there?
Anyways, Once A Runner tells the story of an elite-miler, Quenton Cassidy, who attends a fictional Division I university during the 1970′s, a decade when the American distance running scene was both prolific and competitive (think Steve Prefontaine.) When he is barred from competition due to a series of unfortunate events, he embarks on a personal quest of sorts to prove his talent to both the school and the world.
Here is a passage that particularly resonated with me:
“…The legs became prematurely heavy, and the central nervous system sent up the message that such punishment could not be endured. But the central nervous system is overridden, of course, the runner knowing far better by now than his own synapses of what his daily in such absolutes of physical limitations that the nonrunner confronts only in dire situations.” p. 219
Mind over matter, that’s definitely my running philosophy, and I think Parker’s apt description is just so right on.
I definitely acknowledge that if the world of track and field is completely foreign to you, there may be portions of the book that either do not make sense or are hard to understand but Cassidy’s battle of will in order to prove himself draws you in, regardless.
I recommend this book, especially if you’re training for a race or new to running, since I found it highly motivational. It makes racing sound exciting, which it is.
If there’s any type of running race in your future, this book will psych you up and make you determined to meet whatever goal you’ve set for yourself, even if it’s just to finish.