If you ran a Boston Marathon, you probably have heard of this classic battle between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley in the 1982 Boston Marathon. In Duel in the Sun, the author, John Brant, tries to tell a dramatic tale of this classic race, but his style of weaving personal lives of these two accomplished runners into the epic battle did not work for me. It was as if I was trying to watch a Boston Marathon broadcast and a couple of Lifetime movies at the same time, flipping channels every 20 minutes or so (I would not do such a thing while watching Boston Marathon broadcast, but you know what I am trying to say). It totally diminished the dramatic value of the monumental race, and excitement was not felt. I wish the author stuck with the race and tried to recreate the scene in greater details – both Salazar and Beardsley deserve that. And that’s what readers would expect from the book title. I don’t think the author dedicated even one third of this book to the duel in the sun.
This is not to say Salazar’s and Beardsley’s life after 1982 have not been notable. They are. They have gone through some troubles that are heartbreaking to read. This contrast between their personal battles and this historic race is so great that they try to dominate readers’ attention, which I found hard to put together.[schema type=”book” url=”http://www.amazon.com/Duel-Sun-Beardsley-Americas-Greatest/dp/1594866287″ name=”Duel in the Sun” author=”John Brant” publisher=”Rodale Books” pubdate=”2007-03-06″ isbn=”978-1594866289″ ]