Running Books with a Gainesville Connection

Gainesville inspires runners and writers. If you’re looking for some good training material, poetry, or a fun bit of fiction, all can be found from authors with local connections to Gainesville.

Pain, by Dan Middleman

Dan was my teammate at the University of Florida and made the Olympic team in the 10K. While this book is somewhat dark it has some classic stories about runners, motivation, victory and defeat. Not for young audiences. Probably college or older. Dan also wrote “The Burden” which I have not read but I will be reading soon.

The Coin, Michael Mykytok

Mike was also a teammate of mine at the University of Florida and a heck of a runner. He was USATF National Champion in 1997 over 10,000 meters and has many other trophies on his shelf. The Coin is one of his more recent novels. All of them have running themes, shady characters and supernatural events. A fair dose of humor can be found in many chapters as well. If you’re not ready to commit to a novel, try Mike’s book of poetry, “Dark Visions.” If you like the poetry, you’ll really enjoy his novels.

Mike’s website:

Mike's book of poetry.

Mike’s book of poetry.

Once a Runner, John L. Parker, Jr.

This is a classic. Set in Gainesville in the early 1970’s when the distance runners here were truly amazing. The bacon Strip, Tobacco Road and many popular running areas are mentioned. John still has a house in High Springs and can be found in the stands at Florida Relays. John’s other books are worth a read also.

Marty Liquori’s Guide for the Elite Runner

Great book! Some of the science is now outdated but the mental approach to training required for top level runners is dead on. Marty still lives in town and is best known in recent years for his guitar playing. We remember him for his American Records in the 5,000 meters and the duel with Jim Ryun in the Dream Mile.

Heart Rate Training, Roy Benson

A former University of Florida Coach, Roy is an expert in all things running and has a passion for developing young runners. Well known for his success in coaching college and high school athletes, he also is a real scientist. He currently lives in Amelia Island, Florida and can be found at the Florida Relays most years.

The Wharton’s Stretch Book, Jim and Phil Wharton

Phil was on the University of Florida team with me and was known a “Hardcore.” He was a hardcore runner for sure and is still running extremely well as a Masters runner. Phil and his father, Jim, have a few books out and really know their stuff.