the running man

“Tom Leyton, a reclusive Vietnam veteran, has been the subject of gossip and rumour for thirty years. When Joseph Davidson, his young neighbour and a talented artist, is asked to draw a portrait of him, an uneasy relationship begins to unfold, one that will force each of them to confront his darkest secrets.

This a story about how we perceive others, the judgements we make about them, how we cope with tragedy, and the nature of miracles.”


10th Anniversary Edition Cover 2014.


Beautifully realised and tightly crafted. The characterisation is quite brilliant. A haunting, literary narrative – masterful and poetic, with rich themes to explore. From every perspective, this is a very impressive novel. (C.B.C.A.)

One of those books that remain with you after you have finished it. The damaging effects of war on those who carry around the horrors of what they saw and did is an issue that certainly deserves attention. The powerful message in the story is the importance of looking beyond the surface. (Viewpoint)

The Running Man, a powerful first novel, is an allegory whose many layers resonate long afterwards. Bauer gently prises away the self-imposed cocoons of good people consumed by torment and imprisoned by their own guilt and recurrent nightmares, then draws us along in their transformations. This is an exceptional novel of spirit, friendship, growth and courage. Oh and miracles of many kinds. Note to Michael Bauer: ‘Please sir, I want some more.’ (Glee Books)                              

With a deft skill Bauer presents a familiar landscape with a fresh eye. The writing here is strong, well-balanced and heartfelt. Highly recommended. (Reading Time)

This novel is a delightful read. Often elegant in his prose, Bauer paints a picture of loneliness and regret that is often achingly real, occasionally haunting. This novel could trigger long and serious discussions about the nature of good and evil, the reality of relationships, what it means to grow up, and maybe even freedom versus bondage. What teacher could ask for more than that? (Dept of Education and Training W.A.)

The blossoming friendship between two shy people is depicted with great subtlety and compassion, and the minor characters are well-delineated individuals. This is a mature literary novel and is highly recommended. (Magpies Magazine)

A phantom form shuffles relentlessly closer – the Running Man. A talented young artist draws a portrait of his reclusive Vietnam Veteran neighbour and a relationship develops, forcing each of them to confront their darkest secrets. A compelling first novel steeped in tragedy and the nature of miracles. (Torquay Books)

This psychological study on becoming trapped within one’s own fears makes compelling reading. It is an excellent text to add to senior reading lists dealing with fear and loss. Bauer masterfully builds a disquieting intrigue through this study of the human condition. (Dept of Education QLD)

Remarkably simple and movingly coherent, this haunting tale is filled with contemplation, secrets, and the act of creation. Intelligent characterisation and themes make for a crafted and intriguing novel. (NSW Dept Of Education and Training) 

This psychological study on becoming trapped within own’s own fear makes compelling reading. It is an excellent text to add to Senior English reading lists dealing with fear and loss. Bauer masterfully builds a disquieting intrigue through this study of the human condition. (Library Services Department of Education and the Arts.)


   Australian Edition                                     American Edition                                German Edition


Italian Edition                     Dutch Edition                  Sth Korean Edition

French Edition


    • Children’s Book Council of Australia: Winner Book of the Year for Older Readers  (2005)
    • Courier Mail Book of the Year for Younger Readers: Shortlisted (2005)
    • Courier Mail Readers Choice Award for Younger Readers (2005)
    • NSW Premier’s Literary Awards: Shortlisted (2005)
    • Victorian Premiers Awards: Shortlisted (2005)
    • Adelaide Festival Literary Awards: Shortlisted (2006)
    • National Reading Day: Selected Text (2007)
    • Catholic Children’s and Young People’s Book Award German edition (2008)
    • Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis Award: Shortlisted (2008)
    • Finalist in the Premio Cento di Letteratura per Ragazzi (Centro Award for Children’s Literature) middle school category (2009) Italian Edition
    • Selected as a Banks Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year (2009) USA Edition
    • Shortlisted for the Prix Farniente Beligium 2014

TEACHER’S NOTES: Scholastic Australia


blog 8: In which I say, ‘Thanks a lot Herman.’

blog 25: In which I learn something new about the real Running Man.

blog 57: In which I reveal the first stumbling steps of The Running Man. 





23 Responses to the running man

  1. Andreas says:

    Thank you – “Ismael” is a very wonderful book.
    Andreas, Germany


  2. Taylor says:

    We have to read ‘The Running Man’ for a school book and I’d just like to say that it is an amazing book with a great message


    • Taylor says:

      I look forward to hearing your speech at my school in a couple of days, my whole class is quiet excited, thnaks again :)


    • mgbauer says:

      Hi Taylor. Thank you so much. I’m looking forward as well to coming to your school and meeting everyone. Cheers!


  3. Gemma says:

    i think that there is a spelling mistake on p.7 ‘Tom Leighton’


    • mgbauer says:

      Right you are Gemma! That was the old spelling I was using for the name. I changed it because there used to be ‘Leightons’ in Ashgrove but one of the original spellings sneaked through. Well spotted!


  4. great read and i love the development of the characters in the book. Joseph for example develops from a shy young boy into a courageous and kind young man. I believe this book perceives the message as to not judge someone by their appearance or rumours about them. This is evident in the book as Tom Leyton has been rumoured a dangerous and suspicious man for over 30 years, yet Joseph still is courageous enough unfold his past and get to know him better.

    Great read :)


    • mgbauer says:

      Thanks Robert. I’m so glad you enjoyed The Running Man. As my very first book it is special to me and I think you’ve identified one of the key ideas in the story.


  5. Kathryn says:

    Thank you for The Running Man. You gave such dignity to each character .


  6. macka says:

    Hey Mr Bauer, i read your book for english class and i enjoyed it heaps. i like how there is a lot of symbolism throughout the whole book. Also i was wondering how Joseph Davidson and Tom Leyton are ‘running’ or escaping/hiding? thanks!


    • mgbauer says:

      Hi Macka
      Glad to hear you enjoyed TRM. As for the question, I think it would be much better if you just worked out what you thought about it, rather than me telling you what to think. I only wrote the book. I don’t get to have the final say on it.


  7. Jamika says:

    I really enjoyed this book, and thought it should be an english book to read at every school in Australia :)


    • mgbauer says:

      Thank you so much Jamika. I feel very fortunate and honoured that TRM has been used in quite a few schools both here and in Germany where it is a set text for one of their big examinations.


  8. Franzi says:

    Your book is hard work for the 15/16 years old kids here in Germany, but worth it! There`s a lot to think about it and the own life/future.


    • mgbauer says:

      Hi Franzi
      I hope they will forgive me for the hard work! It’s strange to think of my book being used as an exam text over there. Maybe afterwards they could read Ismael just for fun. I am hoping to visit Germany again soon. I love your country.


  9. Annalee Morrison says:

    Where is this book based?

    Thanks, Annale


  10. Will says:

    We are reading “The Running Man” for year 8 English at the moment and i’m really quite enjoying the book even though its my second time reading it. I love how both Joseph and Tom come out of their shells but whats even better is because they do it together. Its a great read and i’m going to have a look into some of the other books you’ve written – Will

    Melbourne, Australia


    • mgbauer says:

      Hi Will
      Thanks for that. Great to hear that you enjoyed TRM. If you are trying other books of mine I’d go for the Ishmael trilogy starting with Don’t Call Me Ishmael. But it’s very different from TRM. It’s a comedy set in an all boys school. The first book starts in year 9.


  11. Charlie Balakas says:

    I was just wondering where do I find an online Audiobook for the running man?


    • mgbauer says:

      Hi Charlie
      I have this query before. Audio copies are hard to come by.
      The audio copy I have was made by Louis Braille Audio in 2005 but I’m not sure if it’s still available.
      If you can’t buy one try checking with your local Council library. I know Council libraries did hold some copies and they might be able to track one down for you although the last person who did this told me the copy they got was scratched and wouldn’t play.
      There may be some copies in school libraries as well.
      I hope that is of some help. Let me know how you get one.


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