The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner has ratings and reviews. Evan said: I didn’t like him trying to accuse me of something he wasn’t su. A guide to The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner. This guide It may also be helpful to the general reader who is interested in the stories of Alan Sillitoe. “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner,” by Alan Sillitoe, was first published in It is a first-person monologue spoken by a year-old inmate of an.

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T he loneliness in this short story belongs to those who instead of running to win a race, run just for the hell of it. Alan Sillitoe illustrates this difference with ,ong-distance figures of the director of a young offenders’ institution, “our doddering bastard of a governor, our half-dead gangrened gaffer”, and an inmate, Smith, who is encouraged to run both as self-improvement and for the glory of the institution.

He will eventually stop short of the finishing line, forcing the hated governor to watch him throw victory away.

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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner – running blog book club

The same question — race to win or just run senselessly? For Smith, “running had always been made much of in our family, especially running away from the police”. We learn about a life of poverty and crime in postwar austerity Britain, where clothes are threadbare but the rare successful “job” allows a few months of living like kings. Smith is a reactionary outcast, refusing to internalise liberal narratives of rehabilitation.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe

Indeed, even prison is too soft for him: It is difficult to resist the pleasure this voice takes in rounding lneliness its sentences, describing the pain of running “something’s happening inside the shell-case of my guts […], a grinding near me ticker as though a bag of rusty screws is loose inside me”or the euphoria “it’s the only risk I take ssillitoe the only excitement I ever get, flying flat out […], crazy like a cut-balled cockerel”.

But the most notable thing about this voice is how it sees itself as the creation of a runner’s consciousness, of “my barmy runner-brain”.

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The story doubles as a manifesto for thinking deeply — sillito he had been writing a decade or two later, Sillitoe would probably have called this “meditation”. Witness what he says here: I could no more have said that at first than I could have took a million-pound note from my back-pocket.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner

What do you think? Does Smith’s distinctive voice capture the agony and ecstacy of running for you?

Which other running books would you like to see covered in the running blog book club? John McKeane blogs at ofthelongdistancerunner.

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