The Ghost Runner - John Tarrant

Just finished reading the book....

21 to 34 of 34 messages
21/02/2013 at 09:48

I've read many runig books about ultra runners (Scott jurek, dean karnes, Born to Run, etc).  all these super-mega-ultra guys seem to have "loner" traits to their personalities but they have physical ability I could only ever dream of (I get injured when I up the miles, these guys seem to never be injured!).  Having said i do enjoy reading their stories as they all reveal their inner battles we all have.

without wanting to sound too harsh, John Tarrant's myth is maybe bigger than his actual ability - against the top runners his illnesses generally stopped him short.  If he ever got to run for GB in the Olympics it seems he wouldn't have finshed near the top.  I also have to agree the comments above above the unbelievably selfish attitude to his own life to the detriment of his family, some things are more important than running...

at the end I can't believe how snooty the amatuer/professional debate was at the time, aren't we lucky today.   

21/02/2013 at 11:29
I could, but my own values mean I don't, anyone who fails to put family first is not going to earn my respect
24/02/2013 at 22:40

I was very touched by this fabulous read, very sad at the end. yes, we all know how his family was not put first, how most of the time he was very selfish, but im sure alot was to do with his childhood.

25/02/2013 at 11:12

I`ve not finished it. I gave up finding the writing style suffered because the author didn`t know the subject (Tarrant). I might try and go back to it. I much preferred Jurek`s book and the Murikami one. Thought Born to Run was too full of US macho bullcrap, to coin a phrase.

25/02/2013 at 21:44

Nick - yeah, I must read `Clouds`. Sounds good.

26/02/2013 at 10:07

+1 for feet in the clouds, best running book I've read
-1 for Murikami, possibly the worst running book I've read...
can recommend barefoot runner , about Bikila

26/02/2013 at 11:24

Quite liked both of those, Feet in the Clouds particularly, and even though I agree about Born to Run (possibly written with a tour of after dinner speaking in mind) I enjoyed it all the same

27/03/2015 at 05:59
I am campaigning for a statue of John Tarrant this world record holder in his home town of Hereford.I have just helped with the process of a documentary about John Tarrant The Ghost Runner and can tell you there is a film in process.John Tarrants inseperable brother Vic Tarrant a running coach of 40 years and top class runner himself was my running coach for 12 years. Vic dedicated his life and soul to helping his brother.John Tarrants wife Edith was as devoted to John as Vic was,always placing clean running kit out daily,polishing Johns Trophies....Bill Jones did a fantastic job of writing the Book "The Man They Could Never Stop Running" so real and true to the heart,every fact is 100% accurate.Johns brother Vic Tarrant was the kindest soul I've ever known,I owe him so much for his time dedicated to coaching me athletics every day for 12 years,such a patient, articulate man who always put others first and also deserves recognition.A very sad story start to end,determination and grit with no rewards just for the love of running.Johns family may of had to take a back seat but I would imagine that would be the same for many professionals who have to give a 100% to their chosen sport/job the same as if they were in the military but that did not mean he never loved his son Roger,wife Edith and devoted brother Victor Tarrant.
28/03/2015 at 12:43
I quite liked Murali's book but you would not look for tips about running In in there. It was more about himself and his take on life.
I didn't get all thruway through ghost runner. I get the bit about snooty Blazers in charge of sport but I just lost interest after a while.

Born to run isn't to bad...for a while. Then it disappears up its own arse.

I'm waiting for feet in the clouds to arrive in the mail.
28/03/2015 at 13:41

I think the very big difference here is that the John Tarrant story is one of supreme accomplishment in the face of adversity. Ghost Runner is a very real, if desperately sad, tale of an extremely talented runner who never received the accolades his performances so richly deserved. This as opposed to the 'ghost written' autobiographies that are often shallow by comparison and fail to convey the true soul of an athlete in the way that Bill Jones does with his retelling of events. Neither is it a contrived story written as a profit making exercise which books of the genre Born to Run tend to raise suspicion of (maybe a little unfair as they do give pleasure to many).

I wish you every success in your campaign Nicky and how wonderful it would be to see a statue, maybe along the riverside in Bishops Meadow, in order that John finally receives the recognition that befits his achievements. Will look out for news and offer support should you require. From a fellow Herefordian (well for the last 25 years at least!).

11/04/2015 at 04:15
I found equally shocking attitudes cited in Feet in the clouds. It's as if the AAA had an agenda against entire communities.

Quite telling that they would class as professional (and of course ban) kids whose only route into running might be a local show - where they might run with a banned person who once won 10 quid in a fell race...
...and yet see no issue with 'amateur' athletes earn life changing money for winning a marathon or Olympic gold on the track.
Edited: 11/04/2015 at 04:19
11/04/2015 at 11:52
It was and is a class thing. Obviously if you are miles ahead of the posh boys you will get noticed but if you are neck in neck with them you will not even get a look in.
12/04/2015 at 10:36

even worse - there were banned 'professionals' who were permitted to race in AAA events... as long as they waited 5 mins or so for the 'proper' athletes to get going.They could then win by 30mins but still see the 'amateur' guy written up as winner and no mention of their vastly superior finishing time.

Against this I can see that plenty of races with purses involved betting and were clearly  bent. I don't think this besmirches any of the big figures of that mountain culture but there is a point about smaller races. Still, using that to wage war on local kids and fell racing was looks very misguided indeed.

This was going on in the 80s too, way later than John Tarrant. I don't think its all class related though- there is a fair degree of hubris and stupidity involved. 

Edited: 12/04/2015 at 10:39
13/04/2015 at 06:04
Gideon Levy wrote (see)
It was and is a class thing. Obviously if you are miles ahead of the posh boys you will get noticed but if you are neck in neck with them you will not even get a look in.

Ah, the class warrior strikes again! Might have been true 50 years ago, but no one gives a toss now.

On the original subject, I'm a shocker for reading running books. Sounds like I'll have to add another to the list.

Edited: 13/04/2015 at 06:11

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