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Staying the Course

A Runner’s Toughest Race

2005
Authors:

Dick Beardsley and Maureen Anderson

Staying the Course

The gripping memoir of a record-holding marathoner

For a brief moment in the early ’80s Dick Beardsley became the most famous runner in the world—by losing a race. In the 1982 Boston Marathon, Beardsley finished two seconds behind Alberto Salazar in a contest often called one of the most memorable in marathon history. Staying the Course recounts the stunning race that made him a celebrity and the difficult years that followed, including his recovery from a near-fatal farm accident, his subsequent addiction to painkillers, and a very public arrest for forging prescriptions. His story of overcoming extreme obstacles speaks to anyone who loves competition, who has survived catastrophe, or who has pursued a seemingly impossible goal.

Dick Beardsley was a rival of mine in the ’80s, but, more important, a friend and perhaps our sport’s best known ‘good guy’—everyone in the running community liked Dick. Staying the Course makes it clear why he is universally admired by runners: he showed his heart in his marathons but his willpower and courage when he overcame drug addiction.

Bill Rodgers, four-time winner of both the New York and Boston marathons

For a brief moment in the early ’80s 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 near the end, finished two seconds behind Alberto Salazar in a contest often called one of the most memorable in marathon history. It was the closest finish ever at the world’s premier marathon, and both runners broke the course and the American records.

Staying the Course recounts the stunning race that made Beardsley a celebrity and the difficult years that followed, including his recovery from a near-fatal farm accident, his subsequent addiction to painkillers, and a very public arrest for forging prescriptions. His story of overcoming extreme obstacles speaks to anyone who loves competition, who has survived catastrophe, or who has pursued a seemingly impossible goal. Honest and engaging, Beardsley recalls his rise from Minnesota small-town kid and mediocre runner to celebrated athlete. He gives an exhilarating description of the Boston race and its unexpected obstacles: he was accosted by a fan, sideswiped by a bus, hobbled by a charley horse, and derailed by a motorcycle cop. He also writes with great candor of his retirement from marathoning to run a dairy farm, the accidents that followed, his addiction, the humiliation of his arrest, and his struggle to sobriety.

Never self-pitying, Staying the Course is inspirational, demonstrating just how much can be endured no matter how long and arduous the race—and the value of what is learned along the way.


Staying the Course

Dick Beardsley is a professional speaker, fishing guide, and radio announcer. He broke numerous marathon records and still holds the records for Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth and the Napa Valley Marathon.

Maureen Anderson is a writer and award-winning radio journalist.

Staying the Course

Dick Beardsley was a rival of mine in the ’80s, but, more important, a friend and perhaps our sport’s best known ‘good guy’—everyone in the running community liked Dick. Staying the Course makes it clear why he is universally admired by runners: he showed his heart in his marathons but his willpower and courage when he overcame drug addiction.

Bill Rodgers, four-time winner of both the New York and Boston marathons

Dick Beardsley has long been one of my heroes as a runner. But his life story presents a side of Dick that proves he's an expert at staying the course, whether it's a race for a medal or a race for his life. This book is a marathon read—you won't be able to put it down.

Harvey Mackay, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive

Whether it's a race for a medal or a race for his life, Dick Beardsley proves he's an expert at staying the course.

Harvey Mackay, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive

One of the best marathoners ever to lace ‘em up.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Among the many fascinating accounts of his life in Staying the Course, Dick Beardsley gives a richly detailed description of the 1982 Boston Marathon—one chapter alone well worth the price of the book. Frankly told by Beardsley and Anderson, Staying the Course is a good read.

Silent Sports

There are faster and more decorated runners than Dick Beardsley, but probably none with a more compelling life story. You’ll want to read this book in one big gulp, then return again and again for inspiration both on and off the roads.

New York Runner

In the long run, Beardsley’s book is a winner.

Saint Paul Pioneer Press

Staying the Course

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. My Kind of Sport
2. Getting My Hopes Up
3. The Road to Boston
4. The Boston Marathon
5. A Change of Pace
6. An Accident Happening
7. The Toughest Race
8. The Road to Recovery