Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon
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Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  784 ratings  ·  81 reviews
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Title: Duel in the Sun
Author: Brant, John
Publisher: St Martins Pr
Publication Date: 2007/03/06
Number of Pages: 256
Binding Type: PAPERBACK
Library of Congress:
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Rodale Books (first published February 21st 2006)
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This is the story of probably the most epic marathon of all time, Boston 1982. It is also a biography of the two frontrunners, Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley - their backgrounds, what motivated them, what they did afterward. As a runner, it's fascinating to read about what compels these people to race THAT HARD and how it affects them, and it's fascinating, for me at least, to read about the mysteries of sports injuries. But it's a character story as much as a race report, one that's simulta...more
Brian Walker
I started off not liking this book. The writing was choppy, back and forth between different story lines, and the characters themselves (Salazar and Beardsley) were not likable in the way that John Brant was portraying them. The fierce competition and obsessive nature of the sport made them almost pathetic when they reached the level in their careers that they couldn't improve on their times and finishing positions. I felt embarrassingly sorry for them. The motiff of their shadows always being b...more
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Mar 24, 2010 Henrita rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my marathoning friends
I remember watching this race or at least being aware of it as a kid with a marathon-running dad. Now that I run marathons this book gives me a whole new appreciation for the sport and just how far it has come in 30 years. A marathon can be life-changing and this book shows that in an amazing and compelling read.
For anyone who has ever dreamed of or completed a marathon...with some great insight into what goes ON in the heads of elite athletes during a race. This made me want to run Boston and meet both Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar, who regularly give speeches based on the events described in the book.
David Lysenko
This is a great read, especially if you like running! The author does a tremendous job of mixing in pre and post race lives of both runners. It really helped me to connect with them and this great race.
Life doesn't begin and end with marathon glory. The gripping passages about the "duel in the sun" are eclipsed by the personal stories of two great American champions. A great read.
Kelli Stephenson
Anyone who has run a marathon would appreciate this book and what happened to the two runners.
Good historical look @ one of the closest and more controversial Boston finishes.
Jeremy Costello
This book was very well done. Reading a two hundred page book about 26.2 miles sounds boring, but it wasn't just about the race, but about the incredible sacrifice the two competitors made to stay in contention. The toll the race took on their careers and their subsequent demise coincided with the collapse of American distance running as a whole. As big contracts and professional running increased, the innocent, carefree era of citizen runners ended, and a business took their place. Small chapte...more
I read this book to learn more about the race at the 1982 Boston Marathon between Salazar and Beardsley and to get some inspiration for running my own marathon in a few weeks. Unfortunately this author couldn't tell the story coherently and there wasn't much in the way of inspiration. The main problem is that he tried to write three different stories and he didn't organize them very well. The chapters alternate between a description of the marathon and each man's personal story. But the personal...more
This book is about the epic duel in the sun between Beardsley and Salazar (two titans of the marathon and first running boom in the States).

There are three concurrent story lines in this book: Beardsley's life, Salazar's life, and the marathon itself. It is revealed early on that Salazar, who was already a renowned distance runner in the late 1970s and early '80's, was the favorite to win Boston. Beardsley, described as a small-town farmboy, is clearly the underdog. But as the race progresses an...more
A very dramatic and exciting tale of two very dramatic lives and how they battled for a little over two hours one day in Boston. Instead of just telling the whole thing chronologically, the book cuts between the actual race between the two men, to how they suffered in years afterward, to brief biographies of them. I think this approach works very well. It could make a great movie....
Dec 26, 2010 Frances rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Frances by: Vin, and then Alan
Story of the 1982 Boston Marathon and the epic battle between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley and the challenges both men faced in the aftermath. An absolutely amazing story of running and competition. It is hard for me to imagine the drive that caused them to push so hard.

There were many running anecdotes that I loved, but one that seemed especially striking (although I have read this before in other places as well) is that in 1982, 135 people (most of them Americans) ran Boston in less than...more
Diane Supinski
This is not just a book for runners or about runners. Instead it is a brief insight into the lives of two very human men who just happened to run what most people consider the most exciting Boston Marathon ever. What I loved about this book is that it really did delve into what both were experiencing in that race. Both Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar left everything they had on that course. How many of us can say that about the races we've run, or about how we approach different things in lif...more
I'm running Boston for the first time this year, so I picked this book up to school myself on some of the history and lore of the race.

Author Brant tells the story of the 1982 Boston Marathon on alternating chapters, with every other chapter covering periods of either Beardsley's or Salazar's life story, pre-race and post-race.

I enjoyed the marathon story the most, and I would have liked the book better if he had told the story of the race straight through, with limited details about each runn...more
Ann Frost
Interesting story of a great race and then the tough times both men faced after what turned out to be the pinnacle race of their careers - Salazar through chronic exhaustion and depression and Beardsley through prescription drug addiction. The interesting factoid I picked up though did not come from the book, but rather from recounting to Tony the fact that Salazar had brought Henry Rono in to race him at 10,000 m on the track 9 days before Boston so Salazar could make a go of breaking the Ameri...more
Very good "running" book that was actually three stories in one. Two of the threads were the personal biographies of U.S. Marathoners Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley. Each of these guys had some pretty impactful events in their lives outside of their running. The author then wove the two biographies together by interspersing the story of the 1982 Boston Marathon in which these men finished 1-2 and is considered probably the "best" Boston Marathon in its long, long history. Definitely a great...more
Koji Kawano
If you ran a Boston Marathon, you probably have heard of this classic battle between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley in the 1982 Boston Marathon. In Duel in the Sun, the author, John Brant, tries to tell a dramatic tale of this classic race, but his style of weaving personal lives of these two accomplished runners into the epic battle did not work for me. It was as if I was trying to watch a Boston Marathon broadcast and a couple of Lifetime movies at the same time, flipping channels every 20...more
My apparently insatiable desire to read all/any running book took me to this one, purchased online from an American supplier. I knew the basic story of the New York marathon epic, but had no idea of the life stories of the two protagonists. The format is to tell the story of the race inter-weaved with chapters about the backgrounds and post-race traumas of Salazar and Beardsley. Interesting to see the parallels and subsequent (different) demises here. Makes me want to read Salazar's "14 minutes"...more
I really enjoyed this book. It's the story of the top two finishers in the 1982 Boston Marathon - Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsly. Some say it was the greatest marathon ever. The lives of both runners took some very interesting and tragic turns after the race, but the books provides great insights into competitive running and distance runners. On a sentimental note, the 1982 Boston Marathon was the first one I ran (illegally - I confess). I was only 1 hour and 40 minutes off the winning pace!
Chad Sayban
While Duel in the Sun is a chronicle of the 1982 Boston Marathon - one of the greatest head-to-head foot races in history - it is so much more. Brant doesn't just capture the race - he captures the two men whose lives became intertwined from that moment forward. Neither man would ever run as well again and their lives would always be delineated by "before the race" and "after the race". You don't have to have any interest in marathons to gain from the human drama of this story.
For marathoners - highly identifiable - yes really - account of two marathoners at the top of their's and the world's game. I had things in common with both them and it is something more than just a race - it changes one for a lifetime - i use to think i was better than the next person who had not run a marathon but this book brought me down to earth that its not good or bad this thing we do of marathoning - but its a heck of a story to tell. more than others could tell.
Not only a great story about running, this book is just a great story. The iconic race (the reason I picked it up) is only half of it. Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley, despite their superhuman-seeming achievement at the 1982 Boston Marathon, are revealed as human beings like the rest of us, with flaws of both body and soul. There's hope here, too, though. In the end, this is a book about overcoming the odds, and not just on a hot day in Boston.
A very enjoyable read (for a runner, I should qualify), telling the story of two men that goes well beyond the epic race they ran more than 30 years ago. I picked it up from a friend in Charlotte; started reading when I got on the plane, and finished the last page as I stood at the baggage claim back here in St. Louis. Gives new meaning to "couldn't put it down" if you will, similar to the experience I had with Lance Armstrong's first book.
A good book for anyone interested in running, especially the Boston marathon. I've run the last two Boston's and I saved the finish of this book for the day after the marathon. GIven how hot both the 1982 and 2012 races were, I'm dumbfounded that Salazar could run the whole thing without drinking water. Salazar and Beardsley both have interesting stories, and I liked how Brant wove the biographies between segments of the 1982 race.
Stevie Hine
What a great book. Salazar and Beardsley are fascinating people, and Brant does a great job discussing the elite running scene. I think what I enjoyed most was relating to Salazar, the struggles with depression, the introversion, and the faith in God which conquers all. This book has gone on the back burner since the publication of "Born to Run" but the story itself is every bit as good if the writing isn't.
Michelle Lines
Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of the name Dick Beardsley and all I really knew about Alberto Salazar was that he was the dreamy-looking coach of several of today's stud runners. I thought the book was ok - not the most exciting piece of running-related literature, but pretty informative. Interestingly enough, Galen Rupp comes up several times in this book which was written back in 2006.
Great book. I can't remember ever reading a sports book, and I rarely read biography. This book's a sort of dual biography, and it is great. Laid out like a suspense novel, and never bogging down in details, this moves on to a fast finish like the 1982 Boston marathon did. I got it for my brother, but I might have to get him a different copy, as I am having trouble letting go of this one.
I picked up this book so I could read more about the 1982 Boston Marathon duel. I was a bit irritated when the author inserted parts of the life of both Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar. However after about a third of the way through the book I became interested in both of their lives after this race. Reading about their lives became more interesting than the actual race.
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