Summary: John Brant re-creates the tense drama of the 1982 Boston Marathon--and the powerful forces of fate that drove these two athletes in the years afterwards
''One was a humble farm boy from Minnesota. The other was the most electrifying distance runner of his time. In 1982, they battled stride for stride for more than two hours in the most thrilling Boston Maraton ever run. Then the drama really began. . . .'' Thus John Brant sets the stage for the epic race that took place 23 year ...show mores ago between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley. Since Beardsley was only 26 and Salazar 23 at the time, everyone assumed that this would be the start of a long and glorious rivalry.
Instead Beardsley soon began a descent into drug addiction that brought him perilously close to dying. Salazar's decline was more gradual, his vigor slowly giving way to baffling symptoms that left him completely exhausted. Brant's portraits of the painkiller-addicted Beardsley and the depression-plagued Salazar are at once sensitive and hair-raising. The supporting characters are also richly drawn, from Alberto's father, Jose Salazar, a towering presence with a fascinating history and a former close friend of Fidel Castro, to Bill Squires, Beardsley's coach, a Casey Stengel-like figure whose oddball goofiness masks an encyclopedic knowledge of distance running. This elegantly written story is riveting nonfiction at its very best.