The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner is a novel by the British author Alan Sillitoe.
The story is about a young man, Colin Smith, who gets caught for robbing a bakery. He gets sent to a correctional institution, or borstal, where the governor decides to make him a long distance runner to firstly give Smith a purpose in life, and secondly to win a race to cast glory on the governor.
As he takes up running he starts to have more and more thoughts about topics like the relationship between working-class and middle-class or how it is to be alive or dead.
The theme throughout the book is about honesty, and being honest to oneself. This is specifically clear at the end of the story, where Smith makes a decision to be true to himself, and not to feel like being treated like an animal by the governor.
The book was made into a film by director Tony Richardson in 1962 with, among others, Tom Courtenay as Colin Smith and Michael Redgrave as the Ruxton Towers Reformatory Governor.