The 1982 Boston Marathon was great theater: two American runners, one a renowned champion and the other a gutsy underdog, going at each other for just under 2 hours 9 minutes. Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar ran in each other's pockets the entire 26.2 miles, with no other competitor near them for the final 9 miles. They were so close that, for most of the last half of the race, Beardsley, while in the lead, monitored Salazar's progress by watching his shadow on the asphalt. Neither man broke, and neither, in any meaningful sense, lost. The race merely came to a thrilling, shattering end, leaving both runners, in separate and ultimately Pyrrhic ways, the winner. Rather than a beginning for the two great competitors, Boston '82 represented a climax - it exacted such an enormous toll that neither man ever ran as well again. Exquisitely written and rich with human drama, Duel in the Sun vividly captures the delicate balance between hope and desperation that characterized Dick Beardsley, Alberto Salazar, and America's greatest marathon.
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