The Ghost Runner: The Tragedy of the Man They Couldn’t Stop

Bill Jones. Pegasus (Norton, dist.), $26.95 (325p) ISBN 978-1-60598-413-1
Sparked by seeing a 1985 documentary of the Manchester running club Salford Harriers, Jones realizes the life of John Tarrant, noted athlete and a former Harriers member, could be a promising book subject. A veteran of Granada Television, the author examines Tarrant, “The Ghost Runner,” from his rough-and-tumble London childhood in the 1930s, his stint in a “brutal child’s home,” his mother’s tragic death, through his short-lived boxing career ended by serious injury. Tarrant, a self-centered and single-minded athlete, turned to track and long-distance running with great focus, but after several mishaps with numerous racing organizations, he was barred from competing. The Tarrant legend grew as he disguised himself and ran with no number on his shirt, defying the officials and endearing himself to the adoring British public. Despite his courageous English track exploits, Tarrant’s reputation was solidified when he challenged the rigid apartheid rules in South Africa to race along with the colored citizenry. In the end, Jones has written a vibrant account of endurance and rebellion. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 03/01/2013
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