Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Long Distance Running Club: Once a runner

So, Oiselle decided to start a running/reading club. I am pretty excited about it, since it combines a few of my favorite things! Running & reading. Not to mention, I always want to belong to a book club, I am the first to admit my nerdiness here.

(Find out about the book club here: http://www.oiselle.com/blog/long-distance-reading-club)

The first book that was selected was Once a Runner by John Parker.
Source

I ordered the book as soon as I heard what it was for my kindle, so I don't really have any shots of the book with my cup of coffee or anything. But hey, that the easiest way for me to read.

This book was written in 1978, but definitely still has relevance today, and it made me want to try a few of the workouts that were discussed even though they almost certainly would kill me (for example, 60x400m - I nearly want to die after 12). I have seen in more than one amazon review that this is a "cult classic" although I am not sure why that is. I suppose it is a classic among the cult that runners are and not many others. I suppose that could be true. A lot of the book focuses on running, workout, and the eccentricities that are runners.

I can also see why a lot of the Amazon reviews are either from runners (love the book!) and non-runners (feel like... meh...).

So onto the actual book!

Once a Runner focuses on a collegiate runner named Quenton Cassidy. Quenton is a miler (this may date the book in and of itself since the mile is no longer a track and field event). Because he protests a dress code for athletes, he is suspended from the school and the team not long before his goal race, where he would be racing against the best miler in the world. Because he is suspended, he is training with Olympian Bruce Denton, who is a graduate student and club runner at his school.

They come up with a plan to disguise him with facial hair, a uniform from another school in Ohio, and register him as a Finnish runner. It works to get him into the race, but once he gets running, everyone knows that it is Quenton Cassidy and is cheering for him.

The book ends where it began, Quenton, at the track, admiring his Olympic medal.

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