Call it Patriot’s Day, call it Marathon Monday, whichever way you slice it, the Boston Marathon is the coolest footrace in the world and an event like no other. Come April 17th it will mark its 121st running of the event. In 1897, the race started with 18 runners, these days there’s close to 40,000 people in the race. I want to kick off race week with a throwback to my personal favorite of Boston Marathon races: The 1982 race otherwise known to many as the ‘Duel In The Sun’.
It was a throw down of a relative ‘no name’ farmer boy from the Minnesota and the other being almost un-beatable at the time over any distance event. Dick Beardsley was 26 years old and just getting his name into the running scene. He came into the 1982 Boston Marathon with a best of 2:09:37 (set at the ’81 Grandma’s Marathon, the race record till 2014) and Alberto Salazar, 23 years old had won multiple NCAA titles and the NYC Marathon while in college. When the gun went off eyes were on Salazar, with Beardsley being a blip on anyones radar.
For a marathon, the weather wasn’t the most ideal as it started soar into the 70’s on the third Monday of April, 1982. Beardsley was well hydrated pre-race and even ran with a sponge in his shorts. Salazar pushed the limits on his own hydration during the race.
From Mile 17 on, the four-time Boston Marathon Champion, Rodgers started to fade and heading into Heartbreak Hill it was Salazar-Beardsley for the remainder of the race. When Beardsley led coming off of Mile 21, he just looked at Salazar’s shadow behind him to get a gauge. Salazar was a fearless competitor but it was clear that he was hurting. He never fell more than few strides from Beardsley. As with any marathon, pain ensued through both of their legs as the finish line drew closer.
As Beardsley has said in his speeches before, he still led into Mile 24 and couldn’t feel his legs. He says he just kept thinking ‘One more mile, One more mile’. Down to a half mile to go, Beardsley was still in the lead and then his hamstring gave out. Salazar blew right past him and opened up a gap that Beardsley had no response for. A few steps later, Beardsley stepped into a pothole and instead of tearing his hamstring, he caught another wind and was right back on Salazar’s shoulder.
But unfortunately it was too late. Beardsley finished in 2:08:53 – just two seconds back of Salazar. Beardsley famously said, “I didn’t give an inch. Neither did Alberto”.
Give the video above a watch and let the chills run through you as you prepare for this coming Marathon Monday.