No Category selected Book Bio: Once a Runner by John L. Parker

    Book Bio: Once a Runner by John L. Parker


    “Those who partake of the difficult pleasures of the highly competitive runner only when comfortable, when in a state of high energy, when rested, elated, or untroubled by previous exertions, such dilettante-competitors miss the point.”  John L Parker

    VICKY: We are finished the amazing book on Terry Fox.  I am both happy and sad at the same time.  How are you feeling?

    GRANT: I also have mixed emotions because it was so well written that it made you want to keep on reading forever.  Let’s not dwell on it, instead, we invite you all to read our final review of the book in the next edition of iRun magazine.

    VICKY: Great.  What are we doing in the meantime?

    GRANT: I’ve been reading the classic, “Once a Runner” by John L. Parker.

    VICKY:  That sounds familiar.  Is it fiction or non fiction?

    GRANT: It’s fiction.  It’s about a track and field runner at a university in Florida.  It’s kind of a cult classic.  The book was self published in 1978.  That was back when self publishing was very rare and difficult.

    VICKY: I bet. Self publishing is still a challenging way to get your book out there nowadays.  So, did you enjoy it?

    GRANT:  Very much.  At first I had some issues with the book.  It is always difficult to read a work of fiction after reading non fiction for a long time.  You are like, this isn’t real, he’s making it up!  And I have a few problems with the prose style and characterization, but on the whole it won me over because the plot is novel.

    VICKY: We should have done a blog series on it!

    GRANT: Yeah, I thought about that, but there isn’t that much to say.  It’s a story.  It’s enjoyable.  It’s over.  And now I’m on to the next one.

    VICKY: Next one?

    GRANT: Yeah, he wrote a sequel years later called “Again to Carthage”.  I’m part way through that one.

    VICKY: Enjoy!  Now should we talk about what our next book selection will be.  Any thoughts.

    GRANT:  I dunno.  Maybe…nah, let’s wait.

    VICKY:  You’re right.  Let’s leave it for the next post.

    GRANT: In the meantime, can we ask that our previous contest winners, Sylvie, Regan and anyone else we forgot please email us at we need to reach you.  Thanks!

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    Self-described “running nerds,” Vicky and Grant are co-workers who “spend their lunch hours at the nearest bookstore and will often be seen around the office getting excited about a new energy bar or running gadget.” The duo captured our attention with their unique (double) take on Running Blog Idol, pledging to address a host of different topics including Canadian running heroes. Their submission to our contest even included a sample vlog (available at, which they promise is “but only a mere example of the lengths we are willing to go in order to share our experience, knowledge, research and general ramblings.” Holy multimedia, Batman!


    1. I read “Once a Runner” a year or two ago. Was severely disappointed because everyone had hyped it up to be the Greatest Book about Running of All Time! It may not be as relevant for Shufflers.

    2. Hey Dana,
      I agree that the “track” elements make it not as relevant for most of the rest of us. It probably is the Greatest Book about Running of All Time! though. Just be default. There aren’t any others. Unless someone can recommend one (fiction I mean of course).

    3. I have it on my ipod – I started listening to it and then stopped…I think I’ll start over and finish it this time!

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