Runner Study Guide

Set in the slums of Melbourne in 1919, Robert Newton's Runner follows fifteen-year-old Charlie Feehan as he drops out of school to take a job running packages and collecting money for a notorious gangster named Squizzy Taylor.

Though the job helps Charlie provide for his traumatized mother and infant brother following his father's death from Spanish flu, Charlie quits his work with Taylor amidst escalating violence with a rival gang. Charlie takes the money he has earned and bets on himself in the Ballarat mile footrace. The odds are fifty to one, but Charlie wins the race and uses his earnings to buy a timber yard that will keep him and his friends and family supported with honest work.