4 weeks til Boston, we’re tapering
(12 miles relaxed in the park today)
Always before big races, I come back to this footage time and again, the last 6 miles or so of the ‘Duel in the Sun,’ and nearly always brings me to tears seeing one of my heroes, the impossibly genuine Dick Beardsley, battle it out with Goliath, both external and in. I vaguely remember seeing this as a high school freshman, my then hero, Bill Rodgers, on the decline, and I didn’t care much about these two new guys, even though Alberto Salazar was by then gaining rock star status in the running world.
Look at the crowd on top of them, the motorcade in their way, the organizers finally had the sense to get rid of them soon after. Look how raw the coverage is, how basic the graphics, single cameras, the play by play, the lack of sponsor signs, though they all seemed advanced at the moment. Listen to the legendary Bill Squires talk about his pupil, Beardsley, or the legendary Boston area sportscaster, Bob Lobel, now retired, feverishly call the race up Hereford, around and down Boylston, and Katherine Switzer throw off her broadcast objectivity and scream ‘Go Dickie!’
All of them urging on the huge underdog Dick Beardsley as he does magic in that turn when he musters up something out of nothing for one last gasp to catch Salazar for one last time. That moment isn’t magical, it IS magic, magic born out of inspiration. Inspiration isn’t an epiphany nor whimsical, not the sudden sprouting of bright leaves, rather it is a cool deliberate thickening of the roots that fuels magic. This sight is one of my ’must’ inspirations between now and Boston.