Reviews



Like its hero, Jeremiah 'JJ' James, Hap Cawood's The Miler  wears the clothes of something from the mid-1950s, but is something else entirely on the inside... Cawood isn't interested in the usual storybook miler, a sort of spaceman whose workouts and races have no context and no support... JJ has friends (including a quirky black-clad boy named "Zorro"), family problems, training partners... and a town so dense with characters and history the map in the front of the book seems too small to hold it all...
        Cawood's picture of Harlan and its people is so fondly drawn that you visualize it on a black and white television, with Elvis playing in the background. JJ and his friends and rivals are earnest and honest, facing the problems of their day with their eyes open, but mostly just trying to enjoy what they have... The wonder of The Miler lies not in JJ's athletic achievements, but in how Cawood shows them lifting him away from the average and into the world of aspirations and dreams.
—Parker Morse, MensRacing.com

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      The Miler was not what I expected. I thought it would be more about the physical struggles of training for an event that requires dedication, perseverance, and many, many lonely hours pounding the track or highway. What I got was a sensitive rendition of the major events that affect all of us -- life, death, love, competition, winning, losing, happiness, sadness and a bunch of other emotions that you'll have to discover yourself when you read The Miler. There were times when I laughed aloud and moments when I would get tears in my eyes as the full cast of characters created by Hap flowed from this novel. It was pure enjoyment.
 
—Colorado Runner

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     ...The novel begins with a dream about a Cherokee runner... That vision has a connection to Jeremiah's decision to become Harlan's entire track team... The trajectory of competition becomes the plot, and the author excels at lap-by-lap descriptions of Jeremiah's races from inside the protagonist's mind. Not only are these the most exciting moments in the book, they ring especially true...
      Cawood's brother Ray was a source for the character of JJ. "I got the idea for the book in 1959 when I watched Ray race," Hap Cawood said.  "He raced in the style of JJ; he would kind of hang back and then he would start picking off these runners one by one. So all but one of those races in the novel, their style and general outcomes, were based on Ray's races.... I would say (the story is) about 25 percent from my life
that's the social aspect of the noveland about 25 percent from my brother's life, and 50 percent fiction."
Bill Felker, Yellow Springs News

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     The running events...are more than just accurately described; they place the reader in fast shoes, on the inside lane and with precise detail. Suitable for all ages, this novel is written in a style akin to the time period in which it takes placeno graphic sex or R-rated words here... I appreciated the book for a reminder of a simpler and gentler time infused with gripping running descriptions.
Bill Groesz, Central Oregon Running Klub
 

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    Hap Cawood's novel, The Miler, will get you in the mood to run track, cross-country or road races with renewed spirit. Just like the mile itself, the book starts out easy and lets you find your place with the characters. As you read on, each turn of the page gets your adrenaline pumping. Then in the end the story leaves you feeling exhilarated...."
Michele Kirsch, Ocean Running Club     
 

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     If you're expecting a running novel in which race times and training details are the focal points, then this story may come across as too literary and introspective for you... But I recommend it for those who are interested in exploring the many emotional connections between running and the human condition.
Kevin Joseph, author, The Champion Maker

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    ... I really wasn't sure what to expect and thought (the book) may be more about the physical aspect of training for teenagers; however, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a book that can be read by all ages, runners or non-runners... This book is definitely worth a read and would be a great Christmas gift for the runner in your family."
Christine Wolgemuth, Chambersburg Road Runners Club

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  I received) The Miler just a few days before the Mount Washington Road Race. I intended to read just the first few chapters the night before while camping out in North Conway and save the rest of the book to read while waiting for the team to run up Mount Washington and ride back down.
     Somehow,
The Miler never made it to the race as JJ's story drew me in right away and I was unable to put it down until early morning -- after devouring every page by lantern light in the back of my minivan. Cawood's down-to-earth writing style captures the reader and draws them into JJ's quest for the state championship in the mile. Over the course of this quest, JJ learns far more than how to run a fast mile...
Michael Amarello, Moose Milers and Marathoners

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Start-1

START: Willie Hudson (center of photo) — Ray Cawood (right)

     ...Hap has written a book you will want to read. One of the main characters is our own Willie Hudson of Heidrick. Willie Hudson of Knox Central was such a formidable distance runner when Hap watched him race his brother Ray in 1960 that his triumphs and skills inspired Hap to create the character  Bobby Dodd for The Miler. In the book, Bobby Dodd is a chief competitor of the main character, Jeremiah James. Though the races are set in the 1956-57 time period of Hap's junior and senior years, they were inspired by the 11 races his brother ran as Harlan's one-man track team in 1959-60... The story will bring back fond memories...
Bert Scent, The Barbourville Mountain Advocate