A novel by John L. Parker, Jr. The story takes place in southern Florida in 1972. It centers on the life of a college student named Quentin Cassidy. The book has a cult following comprised mainly of, believe it or not, runners. Here ends the objective summary.
An absolutely incredible book. People say that the term "incredible" gets thrown around a lot, and it may, but in this instance it is perfectly used.
It is the story of a college runner, Quentin Cassidy, and his ordeals and struggles as he tries to achieve a goal he has not defined. The description of the training, the racing, and the plotting is unbelievably chilling to read, because it is better put than anybody who has ever experienced it could.
The workouts, oddly enough are one of the most compelling parts of the book. When the character does repeat 400's, you get every emotion and fear that ever crossed a runner's mind. It is especially chilling for the reader who has never run anything near that intensity or length (like three sets of 20 x 400 at 61 seconds), but has done a scaled down version.
This book is required reading on my cross-country team.