Favorite T&F novel you've read?


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Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby aaronk » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:25 am

Didn't know which forum to place this in...current events, historical, or things not t&f, so feel free to move it, if needed.

As an avid reader, and as a t&f fan for 50 years, I've read a number of t&f-related (or running) novels.
Here's a list of the ones I've read, in no particular order.
I haven't rated them.....yet!!
But feel free to do so....or tell us YOUR favorite (NOT necessarily the "BEST"!!!).

Run For Your Life........Barbara Abercrombie
The Games...............(?) Atkinson
Pepper in the Blood.....Brian Dyson
The Electric Olympics..Hal Higdon
Jogging...................(??) Hochman
See Mommy Run.........Nancy Jacobs
Zanboomer...............RR Knudson
Fox Running.............RR Knudson
The Olympian Strain....Mike Jahn
Goldengirl................(??) Lear
The Miler.................Cordner Nelson
Signs Unseen, Sounds Unheard.........Carol Norris (I knew her!!)
The Love Run............Jay Parini
Once a Runner...........John Parker
The Front Runner.........Patricia Warren
Pain........................Dan Middleman

I omitted the novel I wrote, "The Chain", since it was never published!! :oops:

Feel free to add your own favorite.....or just add to the list!!
Remember....these are NOVELS.....fiction!!
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby doug5321 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:33 pm

my race be won - vincent matthews.

it was the first book i read at age 10
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby aaronk » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:45 pm

doug5321 wrote:my race be won - vincent matthews.

it was the first book i read at age 10


Sorry, but this doesn't qualify for the list!!
It's Matthews' autobiography!!
Or memoirs!

It's NOT a novel!!

(I've read several NON-fiction books about running and T&F!! But I want to limit this list (or rating) to novels/fiction ONLY!!)
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Mighty Favog » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:51 pm

The Fast Men, Tom McNab.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby 26mi235 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:18 pm

Was Personal Best a book as well as a movie; would Kenny Moore be the author?
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Vault-emort » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:34 pm

I think your list is fairly comprehensive.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby aaronk » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:35 pm

26mi235 wrote:Was Personal Best a book as well as a movie; would Kenny Moore be the author?


No, it wasn't.
The screenplay for the movie was written by Robert Towne, also the director.

But maybe I should start a thread on our favorite t&f/running-related MOVIES!!

I've seen a whole bunch of THOSE!!

But here, let's limit it to novels read!
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Master Po » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:49 pm

Interesting list, aaronk -- many titles new to me. Here is one not on your list -- probably familiar to many on here.

The Olympian, Brian Glanville (1969)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Glanville#Novels

It's been a long time since I have read this one, but I was very impressed by it and would recommend it to anyone seeking Track & Field/Athletics-related novels.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby bambam » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:44 pm

aaronk wrote:Goldengirl................(??) Lear


The author was Peter Lear, but it was a pseudonym for Peter Lovesey. Peter is a crime novelist in Britain as a day job, but a top-notch T&F historian and statistician - wrote Five Kings of Distance and is really an expert on 19th century T&F. He is a member of ATFS and on the Executive Committee of ISOH (International Society of Olympic Historians).

Never read the book but saw the movie simply to look at Susan Anton back in the 70s
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby bambam » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:46 pm

I almost never read novels but on this list Once a Runner was great. I only read it last year after meeting Dr. Jay for lunch here in Durham when he was visiting, and he highly recommended it. He was right.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby bambam » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:47 pm

bambam wrote:I almost never read novels but on this list Once a Runner was great. I only read it last year after meeting Dr. Jay for lunch here in Durham when he was visiting, and he highly recommended it. He was right.


He also recommended Loose Balls - the history of the old ABA, and he was also right about that - that one was even better and hilarious. Last week I have my copy to Will Roach, a former NC State hoopster, now an orthopaedic sales rep who said he couldn't stop laughing reading it.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:21 pm

26mi235 wrote:Was Personal Best a book as well as a movie; would Kenny Moore be the author?


We have talked about this elsewhere. I was an extra in that movie. Even played a pole vaulter. Spent about 10 hours a day, for a week or so, locked up in Hayward Field.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby mcgato » Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:48 pm

Two that I've seen listed, but I haven't read.

The Purple Runner
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

I did see the movie of the latter one, and I'm not even sure that it fits in what was originally asked.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:20 pm

mcgato wrote:Two that I've seen listed, but I haven't read.

The Purple Runner
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

I did see the movie of the latter one, and I'm not even sure that it fits in what was originally asked.


The first is by Paul Christman, of Running Stats. Not a bad book, but good luck trying to find a copy.

The second is of course Nottingham's Alan Sillitoe's wonderful short novel. Not really a running book, but well worth reading.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Mighty Favog » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:41 pm

Roger Robinson's top 13, from his "Running In Literature"

1. The Fast Men, Tom McNab
2. The Olympian, Brian Glanville
3. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Alan Sillitoe
4. The Front Runner, Patricia Nell Warren
5. Flanagan's Run, Tom McNab
6. Lovelock, James McNeish
7. Sprint from the Bell, Pat Booth
8. The Purple Runner, Paul Christman
9. Staying the Distance, Bill Loader
10. Once a Runner, John L. Parker
11. Peter Lovesey, Wobble to Death
12. The Running Footman, John Owen
13. The Glow, Brooks Stannard

#3 may be disqualified as it's a short story, and #6 might be too as it's a fictionalized biography. All of these are specifically running novels. On the other hand, how many purely field-event novels have you ever heard of?

Marathon and Beyond magazine sometimes republishes classic out-of-print running books in serialized form.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby aaronk » Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:55 pm

Did some research, and found most of the novels I listed above are available from Amazon.
For used copies (usually paperbacks), prices range from one PENNY to $6.49 (for Middleman's Pain!!).
However, Amazon adds a $3.99 per book shipping charge...so a $0.01 book would cost you $4.00.

One book I listed, See Mommy Run, may NOT be a running book!!
I read it a long time ago, but Amazon says it's about a woman escaping an abusive marriage.
I just listed it wrong (in my list of sports-related novels).

Also, I typed "running novels" and "track and field novels" on Amazon, and came up with MANY more novels than I've read....or even heard of!!
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Helen S » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:19 am

One of my favorites is "Life at these speeds" by Jeremy Jackson. I think it may be listed as juvenile fiction, but a really interesting story.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby ed gee » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:40 pm

The Purple Runner can be downloaded on an e-reader in a minute for free.
Conor Dary wrote:
mcgato wrote:Two that I've seen listed, but I haven't read.

The Purple Runner


The first is by Paul Christman, of Running Stats. Not a bad book, but good luck trying to find a copy.
.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Conor Dary » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:44 pm

Zowie. It is on Amazon.

I remember Christman had a boatload of copies stored in Boulder back in the 90's.

http://www.amazon.com/Purple-Runner-Pau ... 098473998X
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby gh » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:06 pm

I've never read a t&f novel that did anything for me. Everything in that genre that I've read pales next to the bios of real people.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Per Andersen » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:57 pm

gh wrote:I've never read a t&f novel that did anything for me. Everything in that genre that I've read pales next to the bios of real people.

I think if you had read Knud Lundberg's "The Olympic Hope" in your mid teens, as I did, you would have been impressed.
This futuristic novel, written in 1954, was set in an Olympic Games in Hamburg in 1996. Most of the book describes the entire 800 final almost meter for meter. 6 men in the final, 2 Americans, 2 Russians, one German and one Dane. Of the two Americans, Stoker and Jackson, one was a converted 10.2 sprinter and the other had Basketball background and ran with an enormous stride length. The favorite, the German, Hasenjager, was drugged to the teeth, a vicious, borderline madman. He shot himself immediately after the race because Germany did not collect 2nd places!!! (the book was written just 8 years post war).
One of the Russians, Konev, simply did not want to succeed as he secretly figured loosing was his only way out of the insanely brutal Soviet sport system. The Dane, Erling, who did NOT win, was the only fairly "normal" individual.

The whole thing was extremely exiting and the author, Lundberg, a great sports personality in Denmark was excellent in his desriptions of the various tactics used by the runners.
But I suppose he had a darker view of the future than the way the future evolved.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby kuha » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:20 am

gh wrote:I've never read a t&f novel that did anything for me. Everything in that genre that I've read pales next to the bios of real people.


Totally agree--a sentiment I've expressed in the past here.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Conor Dary » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:43 am

kuha wrote:
gh wrote:I've never read a t&f novel that did anything for me. Everything in that genre that I've read pales next to the bios of real people.


Totally agree--a sentiment I've expressed in the past here.


I agree with completely, with the exception of Lovesey's Wobble to Death. An interesting murder mystery and an era that I know little about.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby kuha » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:47 am

Conor Dary wrote:
kuha wrote:
gh wrote:I've never read a t&f novel that did anything for me. Everything in that genre that I've read pales next to the bios of real people.


Totally agree--a sentiment I've expressed in the past here.


I agree with completely, with the exception of Lovesey's Wobble to Death. An interesting murder mystery and an era that I know little about.


And I'll agree with this. I really like Peter and respect his "popular" writing enormously. Wobble is more than a "sports" book--it is a mystery first and foremost, and a study of an historical era.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Tuariki » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:18 am

gh wrote:I've never read a t&f novel that did anything for me. Everything in that genre that I've read pales next to the bios of real people.

Although I enjoyed reading Front Runner, I would have to agree with GH. Favourite TnF bio was "No bugles no drums".
The golden girl movie was even more trashy than Rocky
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby DrJay » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:58 pm

"Again to Carthage," John Parker's sequel to "Once a Runner" is almost as good, but is more about life than about T&F.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby DrJay » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:04 pm

Conor Dary wrote:Zowie. It is on Amazon.

I remember Christman had a boatload of copies stored in Boulder back in the 90's.

http://www.amazon.com/Purple-Runner-Pau ... 098473998X


Amazon is so amazing. Matt Carpenter, Colorado Springs mountain runner extrordinaire, told me about this one years ago but I never sought it out. Went to Amazon a minute ago to read the plotline and about 20 seconds later had submitted my order. "Only 6 left in stock" right now.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Conor Dary » Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:32 pm

DrJay wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:Zowie. It is on Amazon.

I remember Christman had a boatload of copies stored in Boulder back in the 90's.

http://www.amazon.com/Purple-Runner-Pau ... 098473998X


Amazon is so amazing. Matt Carpenter, Colorado Springs mountain runner extrordinaire, told me about this one years ago but I never sought it out. Went to Amazon a minute ago to read the plotline and about 20 seconds later had submitted my order. "Only 6 left in stock" right now.


By the way, Christman's father was the Chicago Cardinals' quarterback when they won the NFL title back in 1947 and the announcer for NBC for Super Bowl I.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Brian » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:00 am

A tie between "The Front Runner" and "The Girl Who Wanted to Run the Boston Marathon."

:]

[Both were given to me at separate times by a hysterically-laughing fiancee. She haunted old bookstores regularly.]
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby DrJay » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:48 am

Agree with Conor. The Purple Runner's not bad. IMHO, though, it doesn't hold a candle to Once a Runner. I'm 3/4 of the way through it. However, reading a couple of chapters in bed this a.m. motivated me to get out and go for a 30' run in 10F weather.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby trackstar » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:43 am

Master Po wrote:Interesting list, aaronk -- many titles new to me. Here is one not on your list -- probably familiar to many on here.

The Olympian, Brian Glanville (1969)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Glanville#Novels

It's been a long time since I have read this one, but I was very impressed by it and would recommend it to anyone seeking Track & Field/Athletics-related novels.


Is the Olympian the one where the crazed coach tries to convince his runner that he can break the two-hour marathon, and the dazed runner trots into the stadium and then literally hits a wall?
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby lonewolf » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:51 pm

trackstar wrote:[Is the Olympian the one where the crazed coach tries to convince his runner that he can break the two-hour marathon, and the dazed runner trots into the stadium and then literally hits a wall?

I don't remember the name but I remember the movie.. the coach had the runner running up hill carrying the coach on his back....which I thought was pretty silly,...
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Per Andersen » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:34 pm

lonewolf wrote:I don't remember the name but I remember the movie.. the coach had the runner running up hill carrying the coach on his back....which I thought was pretty silly,...

Elliott once carried Cerutty on his back in that 80ft sandhill on the beach at Portsea.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby Master Po » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:07 am

trackstar wrote:
Master Po wrote:Interesting list, aaronk -- many titles new to me. Here is one not on your list -- probably familiar to many on here.

The Olympian, Brian Glanville (1969)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Glanville#Novels

It's been a long time since I have read this one, but I was very impressed by it and would recommend it to anyone seeking Track & Field/Athletics-related novels.


Is the Olympian the one where the crazed coach tries to convince his runner that he can break the two-hour marathon, and the dazed runner trots into the stadium and then literally hits a wall?


Not familiar with the story you mentioned here; in any case, it is not The Olympian, which is about a miler.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby tyche » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:05 am

The marathoner running into the wall in the stadium is from The Games.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby trackstar » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:20 am

tyche wrote:The marathoner running into the wall in the stadium is from The Games.


Thanks! That was driving me crazy trying to remember. Not exactly a tough title to remember, but I couldn't.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby trackstar » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:24 am

tyche wrote:The marathoner running into the wall in the stadium is from The Games.


Tyche, who wrote The Games? Impossible to find references online because Googling "Olympics" and "The Games" just produces tons of predictable results not about the novel.
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Re: Favorite T&F novel you've read?

Postby aaronk » Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:10 pm

trackstar wrote:
tyche wrote:The marathoner running into the wall in the stadium is from The Games.


Tyche, who wrote The Games? Impossible to find references online because Googling "Olympics" and "The Games" just produces tons of predictable results not about the novel.


It's "The Games" by Hugh Atkinson, from 1968.
It's 446 pages in paperback, and is available used for a penny (!!), plus $3.99 shipping, by Amazon.
But you must type "The Games by Hugh Atkinson", not just the title, into Amazon's books search browser, otherwise you won't get it!!

BTW, it was one of the books I listed in my initial post, but I didn't have the author's first name then!!
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