For those that read The Purple Runner and have waited 40 years for the sequel, well it is out as of October 27.
The story takes an unexpected twist in the life of the main character who went on to win the London Marathon ahead of a cast of characters who trained in London, UK during the 1980s. From the author’s press release:
Pedals of Gold
In 1983 the novel, The Purple Runner, was considered outrageous.
Its protagonist, a mysterious runner with a badly scarred face, found his way to living in the converted stables of a National Trust House on the Hampstead Heath north of London. Known only as a talented harrier from the USA’s Pacific Northwest, the runner talked his way into a last-minute elite-entry number for the Greater London Marathon. His eventual 26.2-mile sub-two-hour performance, much like the sub-four-minute mile, was thought to be impossible. Not only did this distance-running accomplishment stun the world, but he tarried not at the Mall finish line, rather disappearing into the vapours of the streets of London.
Punditry and readers alike wondered where he evaporated, as well as what eventually became of him? Fast forward approximately fifteen years and the runner has had facial reconstructive surgery in California, as well as found residence in a Rocky Mountain underground mine above Boulder, Colorado. This subsequent Pedals of Gold novel — written in 1993, but now published thirty years later — has him discovering the high-elevation exercise Nirvana to have a cornucopia of talented athletes. Among them, the former runner now finds himself a talented cyclist disguising his past identity and true abilities. Gold, treasure, romance, the Holy Grail Cycling Team, as well as a climactic bicycle race, all find revelations in this thought and exercise-provoking tale…
Reads the press release by Christman author of The Purple Runner, a running culture classic that flies a little under the stratosphere of Once a Runner; but it is a must-have for those who fancy themselves immersed in the sport’s humanities.
The Purple Runner
“Cult classic” typically describes where a specific group of people closely follow and align with a movie, book or perhaps another form of art. Or, a movie or book that does not ascribe to overtly commercial production or writing, and becomes very popular despite this.
In movies, a cult classic might be The Big Lebowski, The Disaster Artist, or Inherent Vice. Cult classic books may be Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, or perhaps Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club; it spawned a catchphrase.
In running circles, Once a Runner is often cited as the first indication of one having any sense of running culture about themselves. Once a Runner is so popular, it is indelible. So, is it a commercial success or a cult classic? It is possible to be both. When Once a Runner was out of print, a used copy could sell on eBay for $2000. Once print production resumed, thousands of runners around North America kicked themselves for not selling their used copies. Suddenly a new edition was just $12.99 USD.
In The Purple Runner, two stories take place simultaneously. One is about a Kiwi runner who ramps up her training in London, UK to see if she can finally break through and have a great marathon race. In the process, she is surrounded by a group of fellow runners whose characters colour the story well. They do so, so much, that during the final race-day climax, the reader feels compelled to cheer on the athletes just as if they were live-streaming the Boston Marathon in April…
Read the review here>>