The River Road, nominated for the 2017 Track & Field Writers of America Book of the Year!

Here are a few reviews of The River Road, and a link to order it: 

"The River Road is an evocative novel about becoming a runner at the start of the original American running boom. Set in 1972, Barker, who would go on to become a top U.S. running coach, weaves together hints of his own running journey with the American running success of that summer and a bit of the social change happening in the world at the time. A classic coming-of-age story, it's a compelling read that will appeal to longtime runners, fans of the sport and anyone who appreciates how running can change a life forever." - Competitor Magazine, Hot Reads, October, 2016

"I really enjoyed The River Road! The look at the early 70s running boom and the history of Minnesota's terrific distance athletes - Buddy Edelen, Ron Daws and Van Nelson - captured the spirit of the era! I especially liked the way it explored how friendships are made in this sport of running." - Bill Rodgers, four-time winner of the Boston & New York City Marathons   

"Dennis Barker's The River Road is one of the finest coming-of-age stories I have read. Lenny, a young distance runner, evolves from the uncertainty of adolescence into young adulthood before us. Evoking memories of a simpler time where hopes and dreams lived in anonymity, The River Road is both Cormac McCarthy and Jon Krakauer - beautifully descriptive with characters we all possess within us. Barker's novel should be on every nightstand." - Pete Rea, Owner/Athlete Coordinator, ZAP Fitness

"You've read all the books about fictional Olympic heroes, high school four-minute milers, and marathoners who have succeeded against impossible odds. Now read something real - something more like your own running experience. Dennis Barker's The River Road explores - hill workout by long run by conference cross country meet - how running can add insight, character, growth and self-knowledge to a teenager's life." - Amby Burfoot, Runner's World Editor-At-Large & 1968 Boston Marathon Champion

"The River Road is not just a colorful and nostalgic tale of the sport in the 1960s and 70s, but more importantly, it is a clear and accurate portrayal of every runner's own realization of the value of the sport - development of self, self-confidence and personal growth through individual achievement. It defines why we love running and why we believe that running changes lives, regardless of the age one takes it up." - Scott Simmons, Coach of the American Distance Project 

"I thoroughly enjoyed reading The River Road. Coach Barker captures the true spirit of cross country in his narrative. I was transported back in time to my own high school days and the joy of discovering distance running for the first time. This story of becoming a runner, coupled with great historical anecdotes of running (and chess) legends made me nostalgic for memories long forgotten. If you are looking for a tale of friendship, awakening and acheivement or simply the inspiration to lace up your own running shoes, then take a trip down The River Road." - Tim Ritchie, 2017 U.S. Marathon Champion

"It was a pleasure to read The River Road. Dennis gets runners. I guess it makes sense, knowing his history as a runner and coach. But what makes reading The River Road such a joy is that, as a runner, it makes you feel understood. You live vicariously through his writing, revisiting experiences you have had on your own running journey. A great read!" - Ryan Hall, 2-time Olympian, U.S. 1/2 marathon record holder, fastest U.S. marathoner in history