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About Dick Beardsley Races

The Dick Beardsley Races Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and Youth Run were developed in 1996 to honor former Detroit Lakes resident and marathon legend, Dick Beardsley.

The races originated with the half marathon course as a tune-up for the Twin Cities Marathon. As the popularity of the race grew, additional distances were added.

Dick Beardsley running
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.

Legendary Career

Dick is considered 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.

Overcoming Adversity

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 and difficult road back, but Dick has been celebrating every day of his sobriety since February 12, 1997.

Dick Beardsley

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 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 succeeded, running an amazing 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 hold several running camps and also offers online coaching in efforts to help people reach their fitness goals. You can find Dick, when not traveling to give motivational talks or operating Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast Inn with wife Jill, 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.

Dick is also an accomplished TV commentator and radio announcer. To find out more about Dick Beardsley or to book him as a speaker for your company’s next event, you can visit his website.

Ready to Run?

The Dick Beardsley Races Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and Youth Run returns to Detroit Lakes on September 7th! Take on miles of Minnesota roadway—Sign up today.


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