One of the people who has very generously supported the magazine since we started is legendary American marathon runner, Dick Beardsley. In the book Duel In The Sun author John Brant recounts the Boston marathon of 1982 when Beardsley – considered to be a good runner, but the underdog in this contest – took on Alberto Salazar, the then king of US distance running.
It was at least in part thanks to reading Duel In The Sun that editor Simon Freeman wrote an email to Dick Beardsley to ask him if he would tell us a story for our inaugural edition. Dick’s wife Jill contacted us almost immediately and said that Dick would be happy to write us a story, which arrived in our inbox a few days later. It remains one of Simon’s favourite stories.
What is remarkable about the story that Dick wrote for issue #1 of the magazine is that there is very little to suggest that he would go on to live the life that is described in Duel In The Sun. Certainly not that Dick would end up in one of the most famous marathon races of all time.
Brant’s book interweaves the story of Beardsley’s and Salazar’s lives in the lead up to and after the race with a blow-by-blow account of just over 2 hours of intense running in the blazing heat on the day of the race that gave the book its title. It is undoubtedly a story that encompasses struggle, determination, tragedy, triumph and so many twists and turns that it is hard to believe that every word is true.
For runners who love stories, Duel In The Sun is a must-read book, written by a fantastic word-smith about two runners who we continue to admire decades after their rivalry ended.