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Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon Hardcover – February 21, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; 1ST edition (February 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594862621
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594862625
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,198,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1982, Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley ran the entire 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon neck and neck, finishing within two seconds of each other. For both, it was the pinnacle of a running career cut short, for Salazar because of a mysterious malaise, and for Beardsley because of a drug addiction that developed after a farm accident. Brant, a Runner's World writer, weaves the tension of the race into the story of the decline of both runners. He's clearly a running enthusiast; few others would write of the race as "one of the signature moments in the history of distance running—perhaps, in the history of any sport." The story is sad yet triumphant; despite the end of serious running careers, both men made successes of their lives. Brant tells their tales reverently; his style creates distance instead of allowing readers into the runners' heads. While Brant's writing tends to be unfocused and melodramatic (when describing the women watching the marathon, he writes that they sounded "like Zulu women ululating on the hot road to Durban, raging gleeful keening"), runners especially will enjoy the suspense of the race. B&w photo insert. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Within the running community, the 1982 Boston Marathon is arguably the most memorable race in the modern era. It was a neck-and-neck battle between the favorite, Alberto Salazar, and an upstart at what would be the zenith of a sudden, meteoric rise, Dick Beardsley. Brant, a contributor to Runner's World since 1985, re-creates the principals' careers leading up to the race, describes the race itself, and, most significantly, analyzes its aftermath. Neither runner was ever the same again. Beardsley suffered a mind-boggling series of physical setbacks that led to a serious addiction to pain killers. Salazar gradually slid into a paralyzing depression. Many inspirational sports stories, both fiction and nonfiction, center on individuals who found themselves trapped by some form of destructive self-indulgence before battling their way to the top. Neither the ebullient Beardsley nor the regal Salazar chose their personal burdens, but each approached life as a marathon, and both have overcome adversity and are now cruising comfortably down the stretch. Two inspiring tales, well told. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 47 customer reviews
I highly recommend this book to any runner.
Peter Jackson
Alberto Salazar was the "golden boy" and the favorite.
Michael DENNISUK
Great race, great story and very well told.
R. W. Jordan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Reader on April 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I remember the '82 Boston marathon well, and was thrilled to discover this book. The story of the race between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley is fascinating, and for the most part it is well told here. However, the book could have used a little more refinement before publication. It is repetitious at points and lacks detail at many others. For example, the author includes a chapter on Salazar's comeback victory in the '94 Comrades ultramarathon, which is an amazing story in its own right. However, that chapter is a mere five pages long, including the large font first page, with several italicized sections surrounded by white space. That's pretty skimpy.

As much as I enjoyed reading about the race, I was often frustrated at wanting to know more detail than the author provided. If the story itself wasn't so compelling, I'd give this book three stars -- not because what was published isn't good reading, but because there's so much more that could have been done to tell the story more fully.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Best Of All on September 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like running a marathon, there are great highs and some steep lows in Duel in the Sun, but it is well worth the read.

Author John Brant chronicles the lives of Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley before and after their epic stride-for-stride thriller in the 1982 Boston Marathon. It was a struggle between two athletes seemingly racing toward peak years of performing on the international stage. But the race took more out of each runner than anyone imagined.

Salazar - perhaps the last great American distance runner - was a superstar on the track, grass and the roads and had the cockiness of Jimmy Connors while delivering a KO punch on his opponents like the young George Foreman. Beardsley was the "everyman's" runner, whose times at a variety of shorter distances paled to his competition, but was coming of age physically and financially in the long distances on the roads.

The book is as much biography and history as much as a review of the race. At times it seems as if Brant is rushed in his writing, which is surprising since the text is a light 203 pages, with the photograph section in that count.

But it is penned at a time when the running boom has long-since cooled, but raced when events like the Boston Marathon commanded front-page stories on sports pages and magazines, and oftentimes covered for hours on live regional or national TV.

And perhaps the best lesson learned is not what happened during the cheers of the fans as Salazar and Beardsley matched strides to the tape, but how that two hour and nine minute journey impacted their lives after the finish line.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Will Dillard on July 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I had previously read Beardsley's book "Staying The Course: A Runner's Toughest Race" so I knew most of the details about the 1984 Boston Marathon but "Duel in the Sun" is an excellent book due to the behind the scenes details of not only the race but the lives of Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley. You don't have to be a marathon runner to truely appreciate what these two men went through in their lives as well as in their running.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cory K. Schmidt on March 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book tells two stories. The first is a recap of the 1982 "Duel in the Sun" Boston Marathon in which Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley run within inches of one another for the entire race - arguably the most exciting distance race ever.

The second story tells about the lives of the two very different men - both of which face their own failures and triumphs.

Both stories are interesting but in my opinion could have been more in depth. I read the book in a little over one day. The book was rather thin to begin with and the font was quite large and often there would be a blank page between chapters. Also there were some things, especially in the stories of the men's lives, that were repeated multiple times. I felt that it read more like a very long magazine article rather than a book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cliff Gerber on October 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book but at times it seemed very reptitive. It does not take long to see the roles of Beardsley and Salazar and understand their personalities. Beardsley (Farm Boy, addicted to Pain killers) & Salazaar (Golden Boy Favorite, religous, depressed, and relentless in his running) However this is continually harped upon throughout the book and eventually becomes tedious. As a veteran marathoner I sometimes find running books are too often written for the masses and are not technical enough. However, this book would appeal to veteran runners and non-runners alike. It was technical enough for my taste and all in all I did enjoy this book. Very interesting take on arguably the most important marathon ever. I would recommend it although it didn't really compare to some of my other running favorites (Once a Runner, Running with the Buffaloes, etc...)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James A. Neviackas on May 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
That April day in 82 was incredible, very few were heat acclimated. I trained in the midwest and was not. The race was run at noon adn I had heard the high was 75. The road seemed to be on fire. Beardsley had the advantage of heat training Salazar not. I was only a few minutes behind them but blew up at the base of hill #2 (Auberndale station).

The book gives a good accounting of the race and the battle of these fellows. The painfull part is their physical and emotional catastrophies after such a great performance.

Whether it be the marathon, Ironman or other endurance event one is never the same afterward. You gain experience but you also leave some of yourself behind.
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