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run + life inspiration from dick beardsley.

Five years ago I ran my first (and so far my only) marathon.

And, 31 years ago, Dick Beardsley ran Boston Marathon, racing against Alberto Salazar in the Duel in the Sun (watch the video here).

On Tuesday in Duluth, I heard the Minnesota running legend and Grandma’s Marathon course record holder (an insane 2:09!) tell his story. It’s crazy inspiring (yes, I want to run another open 26.2!), and the perfect timing given Grandma’s is tomorrow and my first BIG Ironman Canada training block is this weekend.

Beardsley’s words of wisdom apply not only to running, but life…

BELIEVE. Believe in yourself. And, surround yourself with people who believe in you. Because sometimes a little belief is all that it takes to make the biggest difference, to push you to take that leap of faith.

KEEPING KNOCKING ON DOORS. Because eventually one of them will open, even if it’s just big enough to squeeze your foot in. In his early 20s and running in duct taped shoes, Beardsley literally encountered locked doors at a private running shoe company convention in Minneapolis. After being kicked out of the front door, he went from locked door to locked door around the building until one finally opened. He was greeted by a security guard, who for the second time, kicked him out. Beardsley kept knocking, however, and found a name tag button (from a nice man named Bob) required to gain entry. Eleven running shoe reps crumpled the running résumés he handed out, but the 12th rep – with Beardsley’s very last résumé – took a chance. Beardsley left with $65 New Balances, graciously given to him by the rep, a bounce in his step and hope in his heart. His persistence and determination resulted in a connection that lead to a small contract with New Balance, and he’s been with the company ever since (34 years).

ONE MORE MILE. Beardsley ran mile one of the 1982 Boston Marathon in 4:33 and felt miserable. He told himself he would run one more mile and see how he felt. Mile two wasn’t any better and neither was mile four. But, he kept going, one mile at a time and suddenly he was sprinting up Heartbreak Hill. Moral of one more mile: Don’t give up…

DON’T GIVE UP. After the Duel in the Sun, Beardsley hit some rough patches – a near-death farming accident, being hit by a truck during a training run and a prescription drug addiction – and every time, he fought. He didn’t give up even when the going got tough, and you shouldn’t, either. You’ll be a stronger person because of it.

GIVE 100 PERCENT. No matter what you do – whether leading Boston Marathon or doing data entry in a windowless cube – give it your all. Do the best you can, every day, given your circumstances.

And, finally, the only way to start each day:

With a smile on your face, joy in your heart, enthusiasm in your voice and faith in your soul.

Thank you, Dick Beardsley!

Best of luck to everyone running Grandma’s Marathon and the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth this weekend! One foot in front of the other, one mile at a time!

THE PICTURE ABOVE… My first 26.2: Grandma’s Marathon in 2008. After running on BQ pace the first 18 miles, the day’s heat + humidity got to me. I got sick and stopped sweating, but I kept going and finished, an hour and 20 minutes slower than I wanted, and ended in the med tent. Bring on Grandma’s 2014!

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13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sharlene Klegstad #

    Inspiring!

    June 21, 2013
    • Thanks, Mom! He is, isn’t he?!

      June 21, 2013
  2. I LOVE these events!! I’ve run Grandma’s Marathon in 2006 and 2009 and The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in 2007. Dick Beardsley is a HUGE inspiration!! Thanks for sharing!!

    June 21, 2013
    • I know! He’s amazing! If you ever have a chance to hear him speak, go. He talked for 75 minutes, and it felt like five. I ran the half in 2006! 🙂

      June 21, 2013
  3. Amazing! I LOVE this blog post!

    June 21, 2013
  4. i love this – thanks, erin for sharing! his advice applies to so many things!

    we need to grab coffee sometime soon! xx

    June 21, 2013
    • Thank you, Rita! He’s a wise man 🙂

      Would love to get coffee soon! My usually around later afternoon on the weekends, so let me know what works for you! xo.

      June 21, 2013
  5. Great advice to go on! I especially love the Believe in yourself – I find in race situations that my mind swings to negativity and it can sometimes take every ounce of me to not stop and walk. I just need to believe 100% in my abilities instead. Thank you 🙂

    June 22, 2013
    • The mind is a powerful thing, isn’t it?! I’ve found that if I can push through its tendency to be negative, I can power through anything 🙂 Yes, always believe in your abilities! One of my favorite sayings: If you’re doing to doubt something, doubt your limits.

      June 28, 2013
  6. Sad I missed Grandmas! Erin, great piece and reflection. I think the legends give us all a reason to keep pursuing and signing up for events that most would consider crazy. x0!

    June 23, 2013
    • You’re *exactly* right, Candice! Love that perspective!

      What’s your next race?!

      June 28, 2013

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