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Duel in the Sun

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About the Author

JOHN BRANT has written regularly for Runner's World since 1985 and has been a contributing editor for Outside magazine since 1992. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and National Geographic Adventure, among other publications. The Runner's World feature, on which this book is based, was included in Best American Sports Writing 2005. Brant lives in Portland, Oregon.


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 2006 Reed Business Information.

The best sports books capture a moment in time. They convey the spirit and hearts of the competitors. They pull you into the event, and its importance becomes vividly clear. Brant, contributing editor to Outside and Runner's World magazines, does all that in this remarkable dual biography of a pair of famous runners who came from very different backgrounds. Interspersed within the description of their fateful Boston Marathon of 1983 are chapters describing each man's journey to that event and what happened to him in the years since. After that time, Dick Beardsley overcame an addiction to pain medication and became a business owner and TV personality in Minnesota. Alberto Salazar, who was diagnosed with long-term asthma, spent years trying to regain his spot atop the marathon elite but never could. Instead he found spiritual awakening in a Croatian village to which he had gone in search of divine healing. In the end, Beardsley and Salazar became friends. Highly recommended for collections on the heyday of running in the United States, as well as public libraries with local interest, and all academic libraries with sports history collections.-Todd Spires, Bradley Univ., Peoria, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"A beautiful, heartbreaking book . . . Like that marathon 25 years ago, Duel in the Sun is absolutely riveting." --Michael Paterniti, author of Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain "It's an uplifting tale, all the more inspirational because it seems no uncomfortable detail has been spared in its telling. . . astonishing." --San Francisco Chronicle "Two inspiring tales, well told." --Booklist

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