Dick Beardsley

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Dick Beardsley
Born (1956-03-21) March 21, 1956 (age 63)
ResidenceBemidji, Minnesota
OccupationRunner, author, motivational speaker Fishing Guide (www.dickbeardsleyfishingguide.com )
WebsiteOfficial Website

Dick Beardsley (born March 21, 1956) is an American long-distance runner best known for tying for first place with Inge Simonsen in the inaugural 1981 London Marathon and his close finish with Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon.

Running career[edit]

Beardsley ran his first marathon in 2:47:14 at the 1977 Paavo Nurmi Marathon in Hurley, Wisconsin. In subsequent marathons, he steadily lowered his times: 2:33:22, 2:33:06, and 2:31:50. Beardsley is the only man to have ever run 13 consecutive personal bests in the marathon, and is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the feat.[1]

In 1981 he and Norwegian Inge Simonsen intentionally crossed the finish line together holding hands in a time of 2:11:48.[2] According to Beardsley, "It was a big deal for both of us because neither one of us had won a marathon before."[3]

His finish time of 2:09:37 at the 1981 Grandma's Marathon stood as a course record for 33 years until it was broken in 2014.[4] Beardsley placed second (2:08:53) on the heels of Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon,[5] breaking the Boston Marathon course record and the American record.

In 2003 he started the Dick Beardsley Marathon Running Camp, which used to be held each September at Rainbow Resort in Waubun, Minnesota,[6] but which are now held at Lake Bemidji, Minnesota.

Beardsley is one of the subjects of the book Duel in the Sun, published in 2006 by John Brant. His memoir, Staying the Course: A Runner's Toughest Race, was co-authored by Maureen Anderson and published in 2002 by the University of Minnesota Press.[7]

In 2010, Beardsley was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame.[8]

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing the  United States
1981 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 1st 2:11:48
Grandma's Marathon Duluth, United States 1st 2:09:37
1982 Grandma's Marathon Duluth, United States 1st 2:14:50
Boston Marathon Boston, United States 2nd 2:08:53

Drug addiction[edit]

In November 1989, Beardsley nearly died in a farm mishap; he required five months to recuperate. Between July 1992 and February 1993, he was involved in three serious automobile accidents, each requiring hospitalization for back and neck injuries. While on a hike, he was hurt after falling down an embankment when the path collapsed. He underwent three back operations in 1994 and knee surgery in 1995.[9][10]

After each of his injuries, Beardsley was prescribed medication for the pain. Over four years, he developed an addiction to the medication. He was arrested September 30, 1996, for forging prescriptions[9] and sentenced to five years' probation and 460 hours of community service.[11] Beardsley spent nine days in a psychiatric unit where he was prescribed methadone. He was released for outpatient treatment, returned to inpatient treatment where he quit methadone, and again began outpatient treatment.[9] His first day of chemical-free sobriety was February 12, 1997.[10]

Beardsley started the Dick Beardsley Foundation in October 2007[12] to provide assistance to individuals suffering from chemical dependency who are unable to pay for a 12-step treatment program. The foundation's goals are to educate the general public about chemical dependency. It allows Beardsley to speak about his own experience in overcoming addiction.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

Beardsley married Mary in 1979. They adopted one son, Andrew. They later divorced and Beardsley moved to Austin, Texas in 2007 and remarried.[citation needed] In August 2010, it was reported that Beardsley and his wife had filed for bankruptcy. Beardsley's wife Jill said that they filed to consolidate IRS debt.[15] In another tragic turn, in October 2015 Dick lost his beloved 31-year-old son Andrew, a veteran of the war in Iraq, to suicide.


  1. ^ Brant, John (2006). Duel In The Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's greatest marathon. Rodale. p. 33. ISBN 1-59486-262-1.
  2. ^ Gliddon, Elizabeth (April 24, 2009). "London Marathon: A Brief History". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  3. ^ Turnbull, Simon (April 8, 2001). "Happy Return for the First Foot Soldier". The Independent. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  4. ^ http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/content/ondoro-wins-grandmas-marathon-record-time
  5. ^ http://www.dbrunningcompany.com/video/myvideoplayer.html Archived May 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "2008 Dick Beardsley Marathon Running Camp" Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Marathon and Beyond magazine, Camps
  7. ^ "Publisher description - Staying the Course: A Runner's Toughest Race". University of Minnesota Press. Archived from the original on July 25, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  8. ^ Perritano, Fran: "Beardsley, Gorman elected to Distance Running Hall of Fame" Archived September 13, 2012, at Archive.today Utica Observer-Dispatch, April 19, 2010
  9. ^ a b c "Life - Dick's Accident" Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Dick Beardsley Foundation website
  10. ^ a b "Who is Dick Beardsley?" Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Tacoma City Marathon
  11. ^ Nowatzki, Dick: "Marathoner Beardsley files for bankruptcy" Archived September 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Duluth News Tribune, August 28, 2010
  12. ^ "Dick Beardsley to attend First Annual Thunder Bay Marathon" Thunder Bay Maraton website, September 2010
  13. ^ Hoban, Brom: "Motivation not a problem for marathoner Dick Beardsley" Austin Statesman, February 15, 2011
  14. ^ "Dick Beardsley Foundation homepage" Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Nowatzki, Mike (August 28, 2010). "Marathoner Beardsley files for bankruptcy". Duluth News Tribune. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved October 2, 2010.

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