Dick Beardsley Talk

Reaching For Excellence!
We invite you to come hear legendary runner and motivational speaker Dick Beardsley!  Dick will have you leave knowing that anything is possible, despite any roadblocks.   With perseverance and courage, you will know that you can take the next step when you don’t think that you can or have it in you.  Dick's experiences in life and running will motivate you, bring you to laughter, tears, the pinnacle, the bottom, and back up again. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 5:30pm at UNC Student Union Auditorium.  Parking Tips - Park on Stadium Drive (if available) or in the Cobb or Rams Head parking decks. For maps click HERE.  Parking is free on campus after 5:00pm.

This event is FREE.  Please RSVP HERE!

Dick Beardsley Fleet Feet Sports Carrboro

About Dick Beardsley
Dick Beardsley is a best selling author and champion - in running and in life. Although his competitive running career as an elite athlete ended in 1988, Dick is still the 3rd fastest American born runner in the marathon distance, running 2:08:53 in the 1982 Boston Marathon. Best known for his 1982 Boston Marathon "Duel in the Sun" with Alberto Salazar, Dick is also a two-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier.  But Dick is more than a running champion. He is a fighter. After a series of near-fatal accidents and a journey of self-discovery, Dick has turned his life around.

Dick's Accident

In November of 1989 Dick was using an auger on the back of a tractor to lift corn into a crib. Somehow he became entangled in the auger and it began to tear him apart. Before he lost consciousness, he managed to stop the machine. "To this day, I still don't remember how I did it," Dick recalls. "I busted all the ribs on my right side, my right arm, mangled my left leg, and beat up my head pretty badly. I was crawling on my belly toward the house when I was found. I was laid up for five months."

Dick recuperated enough to continue working on the farm and even to hobble through an occasional run. Then, in July of 1992, while driving, he was blind-sided by another driver, and Dick spent 15 days in the hospital with an injured back and neck. In January of 1993 while on a run during a snowstorm in Fargo, Dick was hit by a truck, which put him back in the hospital for two weeks. A month later, again in a fierce snowstorm, he rolled his Bronco "a bunch of times." Again, Dick injured his back and neck.

In January of 1994 Dick underwent his first back operation. He was operated on again in March to remove some of the hardware the surgeons had installed and then had a third back operation in October. A year later he had knee surgery.

Dick's Addiction and Recovery
With each hospital stay, Dick was prescribed pain medications. As his tolerance to the medications increased, he was prescribed more and more pain pills. He suffered a litany of disasters and he persevered, but at a price.

"I knew I was addicted," Dick recalls. "But at the same time I was in denial."

Then he received a call from his father, whom he learned was dying of pancreatic cancer. It was too much for Dick to handle. He wanted to visit his father, but he was low on his prescription pain medication and his doctor was out of town. He had a prescription in his wallet so he doctored it, photocopied it, and forged a signature, photocopied it again and forged a signature. By the end of the day Dick had collected pain pills from nearly a half-dozen pharmacies. "At the end of the day I had 240 pills," he said.

He suffered his father's death while his addiction spun out of control. "My whole world revolved around pain medication," he told journalist, Paul Kenney, in 1997.

Then, on September 30, 1996, when he was taking a cocktail of Valium, Percocet, and Demerol, all very highly addictive narcotics, 80 - 90 pills a day - he was caught. "It saved my life," Dick recalls. "Getting caught put the brakes on my downward spiral." Dick spent hours with federal DEA agents, convincing them that he was taking them all, every last one of them and not selling them, as they has suspected, given the high number of prescriptions.

After a lengthy stay in a Fargo psychiatric unit, prescribed methadone, outpatient treatment, then inpatient treatment, going cold turkey on the methadone, and more outpatient treatment, Dick emerged in February 1997 free of drugs.

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 a mere mortal into a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Dick 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 there. He succeeded, 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 in 2004, Dick has run many more marathons, all sub 2:50. Dick is also once again a member of Team New Balance.

Since January of 2009, Dick has had two total knee replacements. Dick is enjoying his running more than ever and in addition to running, Dick has become an avid cyclist, and has added duathlons and triathlons to his lifestyle.

Dick is a compelling motivational/inspirational speaker at corporations, races, schools, prisons, and non-profits all over North America. In 2002, the University of Minnesota Press published his autobiography, Staying the Course. In 2002, Dick also received the Minnesota Meeting & Events Assoc. "Best Speaker Award."

Dick lives in Austin, Texas. Dick has an online coaching program helping people reach their fitness goals.

He has been the host of an adult marathon running camp, entitled the Dick Beardsley Marathon Running Camp since 2003, held each September at Rainbow Resort in Waubun, MN.

Dick is the host of the Dick Beardsley Half Marathon, started in 1995, in his hometown of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

Connect With Us

see the latest from Fleet Feet Carrboro & Durham