Racing the Rain

A Novel
Narrated by: Jim Meskimen
Series: Once a Runner, Book 0
Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (416 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the New York Times best seller Once a Runner - "the best novel ever written about running" (Runner's World) - comes that novel's prequel, the story of a world-class athlete coming of age in the 1950s and '60s on Florida's Gold Coast.

Quenton Cassidy's first foot races are with nature itself: the summer storms that sweep through his subtropical neighborhood. Shirtless, barefoot, and brown as a berry, Cassidy is a skinny, mouthy kid with aspirations to be a great athlete. As he explores his primal surroundings along the Loxahatchee River and the nearby Atlantic Ocean, he is befriended by Trapper Nelson, "the Tarzan of the Loxahatchee", a well-known eccentric who lives off the land.

In junior high school, quite by chance, Cassidy discovers an ability to run long distances, but his real dream is to be a basketball star. Still, Cassidy absorbs Nelson's view of running as a way of relating to and interacting with the natural world. Though he is warned of Nelson's checkered past, Cassidy dismisses the stories as superstitious gossip - until his small town is stunned by the disappearance of a prominent judge and his wife. Cassidy's loyalty to his friend is severely tested just as his opportunity to make his mark as a gifted runner comes to fruition.

John Parker's prequel to the New York Times best seller Once a Runner vividly captures how a runner is formed and the physical endurance, determination, and mind-set he develops on the way to becoming a champion. Racing the Rain is an epic coming-of-age classic about the environments and friendships that shape us all.

©2015 John L. Parker (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Racing the Rain

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

I just finished reading it again!

I just finished listening to all 3 books in this series by John L Parker for a second time. I listen while I run, and I love all three stories. Having grown up running in the pine scrub forests of central Florida BD (Before Disney), I can see Parker's vivid characters and scenes in my mind's eye. It's a riveting story about what it means to want something very badly, and then doing what it takes to try and win it. It's not all sunshine and roses. The hardships and the challenges are what make the story compelling. Patrick Lawlor does an excellent job narrating all three books. An awesome series. Now I want to start all over again!

4 people found this helpful

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Great performance by Narrator

After having read several autobiographies, this novel was a fun change of pace.
I'm a sucker for any sports story, but what made this audiobook so entertaining was the performance of Jim Meskimen.
Anyone looking for a little something fun , with a bit of competitive edge would probably enjoy this audiobook.

2 people found this helpful

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Great Narrator, Good Book

I enjoyed listening to this book but be aware that it is a coming of age story of a teenager growing up in 1960's Florida and running is only a part of that story and not THE story.

2 people found this helpful

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Good 1960's athlete-coming-of-age story

This is a nostalgic coming-of-age story with a lot of sports in it. The book follows Quenton Cassidy through junior high and high school in Florida in the '60's. He is a runner and a basketball player. The story captures his athletic pursuits the best. The novel does a very good job of capturing the time and place, with believable characters. It could have been great with a little more character depth. That said, I very much enjoyed this novel, as I found myself really rooting for Quenton to succeed. I think it helps to have some interest in sports to fully appreciate this novel.

1 person found this helpful

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Revisiting childhood

This book brought back so many memories. I too met MacArthur, dived underneath the Singer island bridge, and was lucky enough to experience South Florida when it was still coming of age. Thank you to the writer and narrater for such an enjoyable story.

1 person found this helpful

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Best narrator I've heard

Unbelievably talented narrator. Obviously a very smart author. Great ending. Great read for anyone wanting to reminisce about their younger days as an athlete.

1 person found this helpful

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Good if you are already a fan...

Which I am. But it does not reach the sublime level of once a runner, not even close.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautifully told coming-of-age story

This is probably the third time I have listened to this audiobook and I am NOT a runner! Masterful storytelling in a unique period in history, with memorable and relatable characters. Impossible not to enjoy.

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Yes and no

I'm not a runner, so maybe this wasn't the best listen for me, except I really enjoyed the references to growing up in south Florida, in the area I've called home for some 30 years. The author's references to places I know well, to characters such as the endlessly fascinating real man Trapper Nelson and sadly, to the threatened environment of the Loxahatchee area make this novel seem almost autobiographical, which I suspect it is for author Parker.

In my youth, my family moved to Jupiter Florida back in the late 60's for a couple years. Trapper was an old man and about to die under suspicious circumstances, but still alive. I was living near what must have been just a mile or two from where much of the book takes place. I left the area for years and returned in the 80's to a very changed place.

I wish the book had better developed characters. A lot was left unsaid and unexamined. But runners will no doubt appreciate the in depth descriptions of what it feels like to race. The narrator, Jim Mekismen, was excellent and brought a fresh believable voice to everyone without straining credulity or being overly dramatic. He kept the pace, so to speak.

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fun listen, slow in parts, good running story

a fun book on running. It was slow and a few parts, but the story was good any narration was excellent!