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

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,279 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
The 1982 Boston Marathon was great theater: Two American runners, Alberto Salazar, a celebrated champion, and Dick Beardsley, a gutsy underdog, going at each other for just under 2 hours and 9 minutes. Neither man broke. The race merely came to a thrilling, shattering end, exacting such an enormous toll that neither man ever ran as well again. Beardsley, the most innocent ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Rodale Books (first published February 21st 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,328)
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Brian Walker
Aug 24, 2012 Brian Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: running
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
Shoshanna
Jun 18, 2012 Shoshanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Flora
May 12, 2015 Flora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I often find to be the case with sports books, at first I thought this book to be poorly written, overwritten/cliched at parts. In the end I guess I stopped noticing that though. Quick read and enjoyable. Honestly I could imagine some who isn't into running liking this book since it wasn't just about the race, or even mostly about the race, but about the long-term effects of the one race on both their lives. Since ~65% of my waking thoughts have to do with running maybe I am not in a position ...more
Lostinanovel
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Andrew
Aug 16, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
David
Jun 18, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago but decided to reread in wake of recent doping allegations about Salazar's proteges in Nike Oregon Project. Recap of the incredible 1982 Boston Marathon won by Salazar by 2 seconds over Beardsley, interspersed with back story on each and [especially] the difficult times each had afterward. Particularly moving account of Beardsley's struggles with opiate addiction, which started with pain medication he got in the wake of a terrible farming accident.

A side benefit is the oppo
...more
Enni Gregas
#22 on my 52 in 52 Quest: Another account of the epic 1982 Boston Marathon. This one takes the reader into the back story of both Beardsley and Salazar--the "duelers." I learned even more about the motivation, training, and experience of elite distance runners---they truly inhabit a rarefied world.

Salazar and Beardsley are cultural and personality opposites which makes the story even more intriguing. I appreciate the flashbacks into their lives leading up to this momentous race and the follow th
...more
Steve
Nov 15, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a slightly biased review, as I am a runner and wish to run the Boston marathon one day... I enjoyed the in depth bio of Dick and Alberto, I am calling them by their first names because I feel like their friends after having read this book. This book portrays an honest view of people doing amazing things and humanizes them in a level that we can relate too. A book worth reading if you are not a runner, but a book you MUST read if you are a runner.
John Cummings
Oct 07, 2013 John Cummings rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, an interesting and exciting book. I actually didn't know who won the marathon, and the book kept the secret well (except for the picture on the front cover).

Although I feel there could have been more content about the race itself, these runners have very interesting pre- and post-marathon lives, so it was a pleasure to read about them.
Henrita
Mar 24, 2010 Henrita rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Suzy
Jun 24, 2009 Suzy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Nov 15, 2009 David Lysenko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uplifting
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.
Ben
Nov 12, 2009 Ben rated it really liked it
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.
Sterling
Apr 04, 2016 Sterling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 33rd book I’m reading for the U.S. history series I devised for myself. Technically I’ve already covered the eighties and this really only gives you a glimpse of sports history and of the life of two individuals. Still I thought I’d include it since I just finished reading it for fun.

This is a nice, quick read about the ’82 Boston Marathon and the lives of Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar. Both athletes put forth a performance that has arguably not been countered since in American
...more
Kelli Stephenson
Jan 06, 2010 Kelli Stephenson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who has run a marathon would appreciate this book and what happened to the two runners.
Hardeep
Good historical look @ one of the closest and more controversial Boston finishes.
Martin
May 23, 2016 Martin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having recently set a goal to BQ, I find myself in need of consuming motivational material. Enter this gem. The author veers from the event at hand to overbiographize every personality who walks onto the scene, overhistories every story nugget, and overdetails the pasts and futures of the protagonists, but all is forgiven, because he keeps everything between the two covers to 200 pages. You can really choose your won adventure, by reading just the past, or the present, or the future, but all of ...more
Jeremy Costello
Aug 21, 2013 Jeremy Costello rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Heather
Jun 20, 2013 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: running-books
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
Travis
Oct 24, 2013 Travis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Steve
Jun 01, 2016 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who recently started running (at a somewhat advanced age), I was only tangentially aware of the the Salazar/Beardsley competition in the 1982 Boston Marathon. While I knew that Salazar is currently a coach for Nike, I knew nothing about turns his life had taken after that race. I knew absolutely nothing about Beardsley before or after the race. All in all, I found this to be a fascinating story of 2 remarkable men and how they achieved greatness, fell to the lowest levels of existence ...more
Guy
Feb 26, 2014 Guy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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....
Frances
Dec 26, 2010 Frances rated it really liked it  ·  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
Aug 25, 2012 Diane Supinski rated it really liked it
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
Kelly
Apr 29, 2016 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good story about the great battle between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley in the epic 1982 Boston Marathon. The story about the actual race and the lead up, as well as the events that followed, was all really interesting. There were parts that were a little tedious and jumped around, with so much detail that didn't seem relevant.
It was a great insight to how these runners train and their mental toughness and how their brains operate to be able to compete at that level.
Kelly O'Mara
Aug 13, 2014 Kelly O'Mara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was skeptical about this book - despite the fact that everyone raves about it. I mean how much is there to say about one marathon? But, it does an amazing job of making stories out of their lives and tying it all together and tying it to the marathon/the run. Highly recommend.
Rachel Ross
Nov 04, 2014 Rachel Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this, in part because I love racing marathons and in part because I stink at history and didn't know how it would end. It was a well-told story. 4 stars, not 5 because I skipped some pages that droned on too long about Alberto's Catholicism.
Ashley Clark
This was a decent running book, clearly written for a specific sub-set of people. The writing was clear, interesting and engaging. A quick, easy read. Nothing extremely special. Interesting for those with more than a passing interest in running or sports.
Macallan
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
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“Indeed, the zeal of Boston's rank-and-file marathoners rivaled, and in some ways echoed, the religious passion of Nathaniel Howe and his congregation. The runners indulged in orgies of self-denial-running 100 miles a week, working junk )ohs in order to have time to train, paying their own way to races, banding together in ascetic cells, forgoing the temptations of an idolatrous world in order to attain grace and salvation out on the road. As in Puritan New England, grace was not blithely attained. A believer-a runner-earned it by losing toenails and training down to bone and muscle, just as the Puritans formed calluses on their knees from
praying. No one made a cent from their strenuous efforts. The running life, like the spiritual life, was its own reward.”
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