Once a Runner
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.
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Once a Runner
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Reading Group Guide
A classic novel and a particular favorite among runners and track teams, Once a Runner is the story of Quenton Cassidy, a collegiate runner who specializes in the mile. When Quenton becomes involved with a petition protesting the athletic department's dress and conduct code, he is suspended from the track team and prohibited from competing in the university's annual track meet.
Following the advice of his Olympian mentor, Bruce Denton, Quenton give up his scholarship, his girlfriend and perhaps his future by taking a monastic retreat in the countryside to train. The seclusion and regimen brings Quenton to the very brink of his physical and mental capacities, but it all seems worth it when Denton suggests a plan that could allow him to compete against the best miler in the world. As a man who actually lived and trained with gold medalists and world record holders, John L. Parker presents a rare, insider's glimpse at the incredibly intense lives of elite distance runners.
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1.) "Time see more