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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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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.
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
Top customer reviews
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This is a story of an underdog in many ways, an amazing runner who gives Salazar all he can at the Boston Marathon. Yet, even more, it is a story of a drug addict and his long road to becoming sober. I was moved by the story, and I have immense respect for both men. I think many of his will cheer for Dick Beardley, though, as he is such an underdog, like many of us associate ourselves as being.
I would highly recommend this book to all runners and readers.
Young runners might be disappointed that it really isn't an "epic running novel" like Once a Runner or other books, but I think that is one of its strengths... as it dives into the life of a runner, and the long term impacts and struggles that running had on one of America's Greats. Serious runners will think that the details and development were somewhat lacking. The typical reader that would stumble across a book on running will probably find it just right. Therefore, it was overall a good book but could have been developed more substantially.
I'd recommend the reader have some background prior to reading, whether it be running a marathon or knowing the legend of Salazar or Beardsley.
Is great to finally know the story and while understanding the background of each, I admittedly skimmed some of the history lessons that seemed like filler content, as I was most interested in the runners' training, character and the actual race itself.
I was sad to finish the book because I enjoyed it so much. So I just ordered Beardsley's 'Staying the Course' book to learn more.
Enjoy this, as I'm sure you will!