History

The Dick Beardsley Half Marathon was developed to honor former Detroit Lakes resident and marathon legend, Dick Beardsley, and as a tune-up for the Twin Cities Marathon.

Dick Beardsley is a compelling motivational and inspirational keynote speaker at Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, conferences, conventions, corporate events, fundraisers, galas, sporting events, prisons, schools, and drug treatment centers.

Dick is referred to as a running legend in the United States and is best known for his incredible race in the 1982 Boston Marathon. On a very hot day, that race was dubbed the “Duel in the Sun” as he battled world recorder holder Alberto Salazar down to the finish line. Both broke the American record: Salazar won a record time of 2:08:51; Beardsley’s time was 2:08:53, finishing 1.6 seconds later, placing second. He was at the height of his professional running career.

In November 1989, tragedy struck Dick’s life. While using an auger to lift corn into a bin on his Minnesota farm, Dick became entangled in the machine as it literally began to tear him apart. Not expected to live or walk–much less ever run again–he managed to survive.

But that was just the first of a series of events that would forever change his life. During the next few years, Dick was involved in a severe car accident. Later he was hit by a truck while running and later still, rolled his vehicle in a snowstorm. Finally, while hiking one day, the ground gave out beneath him and he fell off a cliff. Each time he ended up in the hospital and had multiple surgeries to try and put him back together.

Due to the large amount of pain medication he was taking, he became addicted–and that’s when his life really started to spiral out of control. It has been a long an difficult road back, but Dick has been celebrating every day of his sobriety since February 12, 1997.

Dick's Life Today

Since that fateful time in 1996, Dick has turned his life around. In spite of a series of accidents that would have put anyone in wheelchair for the the rest of their life, Dick has managed to restart his running program. He ran the 2000 Napa Valley Marathon in 3:23:05, and he trained in 2001 to try to break 3:00 at Grandma’s to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his breakthrough performance. He succeed, running a fine 2:55:39. Dick called this Grandma’s his biggest triumph.

He returned to Boston to run in 2002, celebrating the 20th anniversary of his “Duel in the Sun” with Alberto Salazar. In March 2004, Dick ran a 2:43:58 at Napa, his best time since before his farm accident. Since that race, Dick has run many more marathons, all sub 2:50. He is also a member of Team New Balance.

Dick has held and continues to have several running camps and also offers online coaching in efforts to help people reach their fitness goals.

Dick and his wife, Jill, are the innkeepers and owners of the beautiful Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast in Bemidji, MN.

You can find Dick, when not traveling to give motivational talks or operating the inn, running or fishing.

Dick’s bestselling autobiography is entitled ‘Staying the Course: A Runner’s Toughest Race.’ Dick is one of the subject of the 2006 book, ‘Duel in the Sun’, by John Brant. He is also the subject of a feature film being produced, ‘Against the Wind’.

Dick is also an accomplished TV commentator and radio announcer.

If you would like more information, you can visit his website: dickbeardsley.com. Or if you would to book Dick as a speaker, please contact Jill Beardsley.

Dick's Accomplishments

  • 1980 & 1988 – Two-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier
  • 1981 & 1982 – Two-time champion, Grandma’s Marathon
  • 1981 – Course record holder (2:09:37 for 33 years), Grandma’s Marathon
  • 1981 London Marathon champion (2:11:48)
  • 1982 – Second-place finish, “The Duel in the Sun” (2:08:53), Boston Marathon
  • 1982 – American record holder for 10 miles on the track (49:05)
  • 1982 – Robert E. DeCelle Award for US Outstanding Distance Runner
  • 1987 – Champion and course record holder (2:16:20), Napa Valley Marathon
  • 1989 – Inducted into the Road Runners Club of America Hall of Fame
  • 1989 – Inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame
  • 1990 – Runner’s World Magazine “Comeback Runner of the Year”
  • 1990 & 1991 – Top Dairy Herd Chisago County, Minnesota
  • 1991 – Runner’s World Magazine 25th Anniversary “Profile in Courage” Award
  • 1992 – Associated Milk Producers Young Cooperator Award
  • 1993 – Inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Track and Field Hall of Fame
  • 2001 – Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame
  • 2006 & 2007 – RRCA National Masters Marathon Champion
  • 2009 – The Running Event Hall of Fame & Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
  • 2010 – Inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame
  • Past Spokesperson for Farmhand Farm Equipment Company
  • Past Spokesperson for Minnesota Farm Safety Task Force
  • Member, Team New Balance
  • Expert coach for Chicago’s Joints in Motion Team of the Arthritis Foundation
  • Minnesota Meeting & Events Assoc. “Best Speaker Award”
  • Guinness Book of World Records – Only man to have ever run 13 consecutive personal bests in the marathon