Title: Duel In The Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America’s Greatest Marathon
by John Brant
Paperback: 203 pages
Point: The greatest marathon that has ever been run on American soil by Americans was the 1982 Boston Marathon where Salazar and Beardsley ran each other into the ground to finish in 2:08:51 and 2:08:53.
Path: The author tells a captivating story by dividing the chapters into 2 minutes of the marathon followed by 2 years of background. Working through twenty chapters and the lives of two amazing runners, the story moves quickly. Intertwined with the story of the marathon is Beardsley’s addiction to pain killers and Salazar’s continuing depression.
Sources: The author has done his research with personal interviews, televised events, books, articles, and press releases.
Agreement: The story was captivating and inspiring. These are truly some of the greatest runners who have ever run. After finishing the book I thought, I could run a sub 5 minute mile!
Disagreement: Although the race was the highlight and capstone of both running careers, the life stories were quite discouraging. Both their depression and drug abuse were presented as hereditary problems. Both looked to drugs for escape. Salazar committed his life to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Beardsley committed his life to an ever recovering addict and his 12 step group. Neither realized the peace which could only be given through Christ.
Personal App: I was challenged by their drive to run. The internal fortitude to continue amidst the pain was impressive. But, I don’t run for the same reasons.
Stars: 2.5 out of 5
I would recommend this book to runners if Beardsley’s coach never spoke a word.