Interviews, Excerpts, & Press
A review in NewPages
Advance Praise for The Purple Runner:
When I read The Purple Runner, I was a senior distance runner and English major at Boston College dreaming of becoming an elite runner; when I finished this novel, I suddenly turned those dreams toward becoming an elite writer. Paul Christman's prose came to me at a time where I was looking for something different, exciting, international, and literary. The Purple Runner took me to a place that other running novels had failed to. Pastoral Hampstead Heath—just outside London, as well as his characters—are as magical as Camelot or King Arthur's Green Knight. Twenty-five years later, Christman's writing has even proved to be visionary as the world record in the marathon creeps toward the two-hour mark and teenage harriers still are curious about the mysterious legends like Steve Prefontaine. In the end, I probably lost training time reading and re-reading his vibrant passages as his protagonists surged past Big Ben or up Parliament Hill, disappearing down a dirt trail, into the woods. The Purple Runner is a must read for anyone who has ever put on a pair of racing flats.
—Michael J. Atwood, author HiStory of Santa Monica and Boston Globe Track and Field "Coach of the Year"
The Purple Runner has long been a favorite, capturing as it does the daily interactions of a handful of dedicated runners training together and racing against each other in a London that Christman manages to make familiar to us even if we've never been there. As the world marathon record continues to come down closer to two hours, the novel takes on even more importance. And what boy in a man's body doesn't love The Purple Runner's batcave?
—Richard Benyo, editor, Marathon & Beyond, author of Timeless Running Wisdom
The Purple Runner is a captivating story about the seemingly neverending search for answers and love, intertwined with that equally elusive search for the perfect run. Against the backdrop of London, the colorful characters come alive, making you wish you were there for the Sunday morning run amongst the heaths or walking down to the neighborhood pub. A timeless story that will make you want to turn off the TV, switch off the computer, lace up your shoes, and venture out in search of your perfect run.
—Bruce Connelly, Vice President of Nike Footwear
The Purple Runner is probably the best "running novel" written to date. First published in 1983, its storyline centres on Hampstead, North London, where the author has largely based this fascinating yarn on real runners,
real events. Hampstead has changed little in the last 30 years and today's runners using the Heath still run the same routes as the main characters. The climax at the running of the first London Marathon will resonate
particularly to runners who have finished this iconic event. ...There is only one "Purple Runner."
—David Bedford, Virgin London Marathon race director
Paul Christman is in that select list of erudite running journalists, along with Kenny Moore, the late George Sheehan, and Christopher McDougall. How appropriate that The Purple Runner is being resurrected in 2012, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, for Christman spins a flowing tale that might have come from the pen of Dickens, had the master been a runner with a special running story to tell. We are fortunate that Christman is both.
—Michael Sandrock, Boulder Daily Camera
The Purple Runner is not only a great read with action that builds into a terrific ending; it is also a deeply passionate book about running from an author with an obvious love for running and runners. The book’s characters struggle with injuries, motivation, ego, self-doubt, and relationships. But there is no doubt that the real star of the book is running. Whether you are a beginning or advanced runner, this book is a must-read. The acid test for me was that The Purple Runner got me off the couch and running. Amazing.
— Professor John Self, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
All serious runners can identify with Paul Christman's characters in The Purple Runner, particularly the supremely gifted and dedicated Billy Westwood, an archetypal runner if there ever was one. A real page-turner of a book.
—John T. Cabell, nationally-ranked 5,000- and 10,000-meter Princeton University runner, mid-1970s
An exciting yarn that holds the reader to the tape.
—Dick Quax, Olympian and former 5000 m. world record holder
This book is like a good race: it starts out easy, picks up in the middle, and finishes with a dazzling sprint. Runners everywhere will enjoy it.
—Lorraine Moller, 1980, 1982 Avon International Marathon winner
More than just a good running novel—a good novel.
—Steve Flanagan, 1976, 1977, 1979 USA Cross Country Team
All runners everywhere can identify with what each character is going through to achieve his or her running dream—an inspiring piece of work.
—Wendy Sly, British and Commonwealth 5000 m. record holder