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Every marathon presents challenges. Boston has a very unique set of them.
The Boston Marathon, where miles still hold whispers of legendary duels. “The Boston Marathon is, in my opinion, the King of Kings when it comes to running,” exclaims Dick Beardsley, who finished second to Alberto Salazar in the 1982 edition of the race, famously known as The Duel In The Sun. “I don’t think there is a runner out there that wouldn’t love to say that they ran in the Boston Marathon. Even for people that have never run a step in their life know about the Boston Marathon.”
There are legends of Boston and then there are Gods; the 1982 race between Beardsley and Alberto Salazar put them on Mount Olympus. In a word, that race represents guts. The inward battle to push beyond what you’re body says it’s capable of is something runners seem instinctually drawn to because the mental piece of our sport is the intangible; unlike miles or workouts it can’t quite be explained, it is mysterious.
Boston presents the test of personal wills as any marathon would; however, one can’t escape that Boston’s 26.2 is just different.
“I remember when I graduated from high school in 1975 I’d been running for about a year and a half. My mom and dad, for my graduation, gave me an envelope with a note inside that said, ‘This is good for round trip airfare to the Boston Marathon, maybe someday you will want to run it. Love, Mom and Dad,’” recalls Beardsley. “I didn’t even know my folks had ever heard of Boston and at that point in my short running career I’d never thought once about running a marathon, let alone Boston! To have that race against Alberto on any course would have been memorable, but to have it happen in Boston makes it even more so.”
Over the following pages, Beardsley shares his top tips for racing the world’s oldest annual marathon.