Duel in the Sun

Hey, it’s two weeks in a row! It’s amazing what some time at the beach and time away from running can do for one’s ability to read. Well, I suppose that’s misleading. It’s not like if you’re illiterate, you can take some time off from running and hang out at the beach and hope to suddenly be able to read…Of course, if you’re illiterate, you’re probably not reading this right now anyway.

What I mean to say is that I’ve actually had time to read over the last few weeks and I put another book in the bag. I requested Again to Carthage (the sequel to Once a Runner) from the library and it did not arrive in time for the weekend.  Instead, I checked out Duel in the Sun by John Brandt.

Duel in the Sun is the story of the 1982 Boston marathon.  Some Many would call it the greatest marathon in history.  This, I knew.  What I didn’t know was that the two main players, Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar, essentially fell apart after the marathon.  The book progresses pretty nicely, weaving the post marathon trials and tribulations (Salazar’s depression and Beardsley’s drug addiction).  Sometimes it even loosely ties said trials and tribulations with the physical equivalents during the actual race.

The book certainly wasn’t the page turner that Once a Runner was, but it did keep my attention.  I do think that Brant went a bit overboard trying to postulate that the 1982 Boston marathon itself was the cause for the downfall of both runners.  While both runners certainly pushed their bodies past their limits during the marathon, I doubt that Salazar’s asthma was solely the result of that race.  More likely, it was spurned by years of high intensity (over) training.  After all, Salazar did win the New York City marathon the following year (albeit in a significantly slower time).  Likewise, Beardsley continued racing hard without adequate recovery following Boston and drove himself into the ground.  What is evident is that the 1982 Boston marathon was the pinnacle of the careers of both men.

For my part, I did 3 easy miles on the treadmill this morning at the gym.  I followed that up with some stretching and an extra long shower.  I did 4 miles in the unrelenting sun with Alice this afternoon.  She was sore from yesterday’s run, so I finally know that I’m doing some good.


  1. man reading all my books! i thought this was a good read as well, but again you are right – took me longer to get through than “once a runner”. that could’ve also been due to having less time, i dunno. it was a good book and eye-opening to see what happened to the guys post-race, and (of course) to know how well they are both doing today.

  2. Great book review! Keep them coming! I love it! Its nice to have time to read!

    That is great that Alice is working hard on the running with you!!

  3. I agree, I’m liking the book reviews! “Once a Runner” just arrived at my library so I need to go pick it up this week.

    You’re such a good coach with Alice! Are you planning on running any summer 5Ks with her?

  4. You need to slow down– I haven’t even checked out “Once a Runner” 🙂

    I’m going to have to start a list now.

    Great review!

  5. I’m dying to read Duel in the Sun. I want to understand how Salazar can push himself to nearly death. That’s just insane.

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