Running Novels (Updated on November 1, 2007)

Following is a comprehensive list of novels in which running plays an integral role. Organized
roughly by publication date, this list isn’t screened in any way for quality.  I have, however,
placed a double asterix (**) beside novels that I've read and can personally recommend  and a
single asterix (*) next to those novels that I haven’t read but seem to be highly regarded by
other reliable reviewers.  If you’ve written a running novel, or know of one not on my list, please
feel free to e-mail me at
admin@kevin-joseph.com and I’ll consider including it on the next
Again to Carthage, by John L. Parker, Jr. (Breakaway Books) (Sequel to Once a
scheduled for release on November 26, 2007.)

Breaking Stride, by Stephen Paske (Banda Press International, Inc. 2006) (Two high
school distance runners vie for the state cross country championship.) *  Note:  The author has
a cool website featuring some really positive reviews and interesting running-related links:  

3.        The Gift: A Runner's Story, by Paul Maurer (Lulu Press 2006) (A distance runner
attempts a comeback after his collegiate career fell prey to alcoholism.) **

The Champion Maker, by Kevin Joseph (Lulu Press 2006) (In an unprecedented quest
for Olympic gold in both the 100 and 1500 meters, a track phenom and his coach uncover a
shocking conspiracy with implications far beyond the world of sports.) **

The Other Shulman, by Alan Zweibel (Villard 2006) (In this comic novel, an overweight,
middle-aged man runs the New York Marathon as a way to compensate for his many

Following the Flame, by Greg Lautenslager (Virtualbookworm.com 2005) (Chronicles a
runner's globe trotting adventures on route to the U.S. Olympic team.)

Distant Runner, by Bruce Glikin (Amber Fields Publishing 2005) (The lives of a
disturbed child prodigy and a former Olympic Trials runner intersect in a mysterious way.) **

4:20 Miler, by Claudell James (iUniverse, Incorporated 2005) (A high school runner
attempts to win a collegiate scholarship through excellence on the track and in the classroom.)

Kipligat's Chance, by David Odhiambo (A Kenyan youth living in the Vancouver projects
tries to earn a track scholarship to a U.S. college.)

A Run by the River, by Joseph Vitucci (1st Books 2003) (A distance runner at an elite
Division I school wrestles with an assortment of freshman-year pressures as well as his troubled

Life at These Speeds, by Jeremy Jackson (Picador 2003) (After avoiding a traffic
accident that claims the life of his teammates, a high school runner shuts out his memories of
the past and begins shattering records.)  **

The Miler, by Hap Cawood (Cimarron Books 2003) (A touching, coming-of-age tale set
in 1950s Kentucky about a boy’s pursuit of the state mile championship for a high school with
no track team.) **

Bay to Breakers, by Frank J. Frost (Fithian Press 2002) (Follows the lives of a group of
runners who all are training for, and ultimately cross paths in, San Francisco’s Bay to Breakers

Olympiad:  An Historical Novel, by Tom Holt (Abacus Press 2001) (A satirical account
of the story behind the first Olympic Games in 776 BC.)

Runners’ Blood, by James J. Fischer (Word Association Publishers 2000) (While
preparing for the Sidney Olympics, an Irish runner discovers a sinister plot by disgraced East
German swimming coaches to administer a new performance-enhancing drug to Chinese

Running to Paradise, by Frances Winfield Bremer (Prospect Press 2000) (A thirty-
something Catholic priest uses his experiences in training for the New York Marathon as
inspiration for his religious life.)

On the Dead Run, by Steven A. Simon (Xlibris 2000) (A female ultrarunner who works
on Capitol Hill and is in training for a 100-miler attempts to unravel a mystery involving her
boyfriend’s disappearance and the murder of a controversial political activist.)

In the Long Run, by Tim Van Wagoner (Tim Van Wagoner 1999) (While running the
Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC, a runner enters “the zone” and communicates with
an apparition of his great-great grandfather, a Civil War hero who teaches him lessons about
life.) **

The Long Run of Myles Mayberry, by Alfred Alcorn (Zoland Books 1999) (Set in the
1970s, a quirky story of a young man’s fixation on winning the Boston Marathon and the toll this
obsession takes on his marriage, friendships and mental health.) *

Slinger Sanchez Running Gun, by Bruce Glitkin (Amber Fields Publishing 1998) (A
down-and-out man of mixed ancestry struggles to become a world-class distance runner.)

Pain, by Dan Middleman (Tafnews Press 1998) (Chronicles a talented collegiate
distance runner’s struggles to overcome a campus culture of heavy drinking, as well as his own
anxiety and depression, while pursuing a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.)**  

Marathon, My Marathon, by Jon Foyt, et al. (Fithian Press 1996) (An unusual
combination of such disparate subjects as athletics, environmental conservation, history, and
mythology, written by a seasoned marathon runner and his wife.)

The Other Kingdom, by Victor Price (Breakaway Books 1996) (Chronicles an Irish
runner’s struggles to become world class.) **

Harlan’s Race, by Patricia Nell Warren (Wildcat Press 1996) (Sequel to The Front
, a revolutionary novel about a gay runner.)

Pepper in the Blood, by Brian Dyson (Chatham International Corporation 1996)
(Through the eyes of a talented female runner, a fictional look at the timely topic of
performance enhancing drugs in track and field.)

Dead Heat, by Linda Barnes (Dell 1995) (An actor is enlisted by his bodyguard friend
to help protect a senator, who’s been receiving death threats, while running in the Boston

Achilles’ Choice, by Larry Niven, Steven Barnes (Tor Science Fiction 1991) (A woman
contender in the 2048 Olympics, where computer-fused humans compete in mental, aesthetic
and physical ways, faces a fateful choice.)

Defectors, by Robert Lehrman (Arbor House Publishing Co. 1988) (Set in 1958, a
young American Record holder for the mile befriends a Russian miler who defects to the United
States where he’s castigated for his sexual orientation.)

Sunday’s Child, Joyce E. Bright  (Naiad Press 1988) (A female runner is encouraged by
her closest friend, a lesbian, to make a comeback and prepare for the Olympic Trials.)

Long Road to Boston, by Bruce W. Tuckman (Cedarwinds Publishing Co. 1987) (A
competitor in the Boston Marathon flashes back to his harrowing past as he passes the various
milestones along this grueling race course).  [Note: Although commonly regarded as one of the
few running classics, it appears to have gone out of print.]  *

The Fast Men, by Tom McNab  (Arrow 1986) (Two runners hustle 19th-Century
Westerners in the sport of foot-racing, with most of the action centering on the mind-games
involved in the con, and on training and race descriptions.)

The Runner, by Cynthia Voigt (Scholastic Paperbacks 1994) (A 1960s-era high school
cross-country  runner must come to terms with his own prejudices when a black runner joins the
team; originally published in 1985.) *     

The Purple Runner, by Paul Christman (Cedarwinds Publishing Co. 1983) (Two story
lines, one involving a talented New Zealand woman who keeps coming up short in her
marathons and the other concerning a mysterious but elite running man with a disfigured face,
converge at the London Marathon.)

Flanagan’s Run, by Tom McNab  (Hodder and Stoughton 1982) (Depicts a quest by a
handful of colorful characters to win a transcontinental race from Los Angeles to New York in
the 1930s.)

Eddie Macon’s Run, by James McLendon (Viking Press 1980) (A Texas prison escapee
makes a dangerous cross country run for the Mexican border; made into a movie starring John
Schneider and Kirk Douglas).        

Moscow 5000, by David Grant (Bantam Books 1980) (Ukrainian terrorists plant a bomb
during the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and CIA and KGB agents work together to stop them.)         

Once a Runner, by John L. Parker, Jr. (Cedarwinds 1998) (First published in 1979, a
collegiate miler battles a hostile university athletics department and his own inner demons in
what is generally regarded as the classic running novel of all time.) **

The Front Runner, by Patricia Nell Warren (Wildcat Press 1996) (First published in
1976, a gay love story involving an Olympic contender and his track coach.)  

Marathon Man, by William Goldman  (Ballantine 2001) (Originally published in 1975, a
brilliant spy thriller in which a distance runner gets caught up in a harrowing plot involving Nazi
scientists; also a great movie starring Dustin Hoffman.) **

The Olympian, by Brian Glanville (Cedarwinds 1998) (Originally published in 1969, this
classic Rockyesque story follows a young runner’s rise from obscurity under the tutelage of an
eccentric British coach).  **

Copyright © 2008 Kevin Joseph.  All rights reserved.