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Running Books

Looking for inspiration? Done watching running movies. The following is a list of book of interest to runners compiled from various sources including the library of Run On!'s General Manager and a 2007 article ion by Calvin Hennick.

The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb tells about the attempt by three men, Roger Bannister, John Landy, and Wes Santee, in the 1950s to become the first to run the mile in less than four minutes is a classic 20th-century sports story. Bascomb's excellent account captures all of the human drama and competitive excitement of this legendary racing event.

In Quest of Gold - The Jim Ryun Story is an inspirational autobiography about the three-time olympian miler.

The Greatest - The Haile Gebrselassie Story by Jim Denison is the world champion distance runner's official autobiography.

Duel in the Sun by John Brant tells the story of the 1982 Boston Marathon, arguably the most memorable race in the modern era. It was a neck-and-neck battle between the favorite, Alberto Salazar, and an upstart at what would be the zenith of a sudden, meteoric rise, Dick Beardsley.

Slinger Sanchez Running Gun, a novel by Bruce Gilkin, details the experience of a world calss track-runner's struggle to become an olympian. The account illuminates the extraordinary relationship that exists between athlete and coach and the the runner's experiences from the challenging workouts, to the feel an olympic trials final.

Running Back by Steve Heidenreich and Dave Door is Steve's autobiography. While the four-minute miler was on a training run, he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, leaving him in a coma with multiple injuries. The book is the story of how he miraculously "ran back" from his injuries.

Bowerman and the Men of Oregon, by Kenny Moore. Learn about Bill Bowerman, one of the most famous track and field coaches of the last century and cofounder of Nike. You'll be surprised how the legend initiated his new runners at the University of Oregon.

Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear, Colorado-based cross-country runner,who follows the University of Colorado cross-country team, the Buffaloes, through its 1998 season, one with many high points but also marked by the tragic death of one of its team members in a bike accident. The University of Colorado's cross-country program is one of the best in the country and, unlike most major cross-country powers, relies mainly on locally born athletes. The book minutely details the training and coaching techniques used to produce a team that is a constant contender for the NCAA championship.

The cult classic Once a Runner, by talented runner John L. Parker JR., captures the hard work and dedication required of fictional collegiate miler Quenton Cassidy.

The Olympian by Brian Glanville is a novel about a long distance runner. Although it is a bit dated with some of the references to training, women's running etc, it is a novel where the suspension builds unil the last paragraph. It tells the story of an athlete who wants to be the best miler in the world and will stop at nothing to win the gold medal. It shows the struggles and sacrifices that he and his coach go through over 7 years to take him from a working-class stiff thrashing through inconsequential races as a mediocre sprinter at a local running club to a word-class distance runner.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, a short story by Alan Sillitoe, tells the tale of a rebellious youth in a reformatory who runs in solitude and makes a stand against a system he doesn't believe in. You'll have new appreciation for the power of solo runs.

Moscow 5000, a novel by David Grant, in which the top athletes of the world gather in Lenin Stadium for the summer Olympics. The story not only involves winning and losing, but terrorists plots, the CIA, and KGB.

Pain, by Dan Middleman. Fictional college senior Richard Dubin attempts to balance hard partying, a complicated relationship, and world-class competition.

Life at These Speeds, by Jeremy Jackson. When an entire track team is killed on the way home from a meet at the beginning of this novel, star Kevin Schuler, who rode home with his parents, is left to pick up the pieces. Sad but stirring.


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