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Book Review: Staying the Course

Posted Nov 24 2012 7:00am

Staying The Course: A Runner's Toughest Race by Dick Beardsley Dick Beardsley (Author)
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How the publisher describes the book:
For a moment Dick Beardsley became the most famous runner in the world by losing a race. In the 1982 Boston Marathon, Beardsley, foiled by a motorcycle that cut him off, finished two seconds behind Alberto Salazar in one of the most memorable contests in marathon history. Staying the Course recounts that race and the difficult years that followed, including his recovery from a near-fatal farm accident, his subsequent addiction to painkillers, and a public arrest for forging prescriptions. His story of overcoming obstacles speaks to anyone who loves competition, who has survived catastrophe, or who has pursued a seemingly impossible goal. Show More Show Less

This is my favorite book that I have read over the last handful of months. I picked it up shortly after going on hiatus and in preparation for a family vacation. I have been interested in learning more about Beardsley because he is a legend in this part of the US. I was hoping to learn more about the man and the famous duel in the sun at Boston those many years ago. I also wanted to know more about him in hopes than I would possibly meet him next summer when I run the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth. What I got was a very honest look at a man’s life both with the successes and shortcomings that life provides.

The book takes you from childhood until recent history after his substance abuse problems. In between is a colorful and not so easy or perfect life. The story is about is love of running, trying to balance a family, succeed in various businesses and well just make ends meet. It will show you what a person will sacrifice to follow ones dreams as well. It is a bit of a roller coaster ride between career successes, running near misses, injuries, business successes and failures and of course the abuse problem later in life. But it is also about a compassionate, caring and well liked person that still is one of the best known ambassadors for running. My favorite story is very early in the book when he tries out for the high school cross country team. I won’t spoil it but it is exactly something I would have done. I guess I liked the book so much because I could relate to his mid-western values and are fairly close in age.

As I said before this is my favorite book recently. I highly recommend it if you are interested in Beardsley and his running career and life in general. It is also a great general look the life of what a runner back in the 1970’s was dealing with as a sport an as a professional. Very interesting from that point of view and the demands that were placed on them. Find a copy and enjoy.

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