Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Alberto Salazar: 14 Minutes (book preview)

In general, I don't read books about running.  I enjoy running -- but there are too many other interesting things to read about in my not-so-abundant free time.

Nevertheless, I am thinking of picking up 14 Minutes, the newly released memoir by Alberto Salazar.  Salazar won several marathons and set numerous records in his early 20's, but perhaps is most famous for his epic "Duel in the Sun" against Dick Beardsley in the 1982 Boston Marathon, a race he won by a mere two seconds.

Having drunken almost no water along the way, Salazar's weight went from 140 pounds to130 pounds.  He would recover, but he would never run so fast again.   As his body began to decline, Salazar began to train harder and harder, running sometimes close to 200 miles per week. 

Salazar, himself the son of a Cuban revolutionary, would eventually wander the world, seeking solace in Yugoslavia and South America. Finally, having retired from professional running, he returned to the States, where he took employment with Nike.  Today, as a running coach, Salazar is obsessed with running form.  Check out this detailed and fascinating New Yorker article about his work with Dathan Ritzenhein.

It's a fascinating life story, and so far, and the few reviews that have come in so far have been excellent.  The Wall Street Journal calls it "meditative and affecting, an engaging account of a true champion's rise, near-demise and arrival at peace."

Can anyone comment who has read it already? 

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