Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beardsley Inducted into Distance Running Hall of Fame

Last weekend in Utica, NY Dick Beardsley was inducted into the Distance Running Hall of Fame. He and fellow marathoner Miki Gorman were this year's inductees. Upon returning from the event, he answered a few questions from DtB.

Down the Backstretch: You are the first and only Minnesotan in the Hall of Fame. What was your reaction when you were informed of your selection?

Dick Beardsley: I was very honored, humbled, and a little surprised. A couple of years ago they told me to be at a get together at the Boston Marathon. Rumor had it that I was going to be inducted that year. People from New Balance were there. People were even congratulating me! Then they made the announcement. Needless to say, I was not selected. When I heard the same thing this year I was a little more cautious, but when they made the anouncement and said my name, it was quite emotional!

DtB: What was the induction ceremony like?

DB: It was in a nice quaint little theater at the Masonic Lodge in Utica. They had it decorated really nice and had pictures of Miki Gorman and I. Larry Rawson was the MC and he always does such a great job! They brought past inductees onto the stage and introduced them. Bill Rodgers, Nina Kuscsik, and Kathrine Switzer. They brought Miki up first and then it was my turn to give my thanks. I got all weepy a few times, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Afterwards Miki and I signed copies of the painting they unveiled the day before. It was a great weekend!

DtB: How does this honor rank with the others you’ve won?

DB: As far as Hall of Fame awards, this is the Grandaddy of them all when it comes to distance running. Running wise I would say its right at the top!

DtB: How is life in Austin(though you’re not there a lot. You seem to be on the road more than at home)?

DB: I've really taken to Austin! The people here remind me a lot of folks from the Midwest, down to earth and very friendly. It is really a active outdoor community--running, cycling, hiking, kayaking, fishing. I love it, and the winters are a sure lot nicer!

DtB: How are all the body parts holding up? Your knees seem to be the joints that have taken the most damage. How is everything functioning these days?

DB: Considering everything, pretty darn good! A year and a half ago I did have to have a total knee replacement on my right knee, and then back surgery last August. The knee feels great and I was back running 60 miles/week until my back started acting up again. That's when they had to go back in and secure it even more. I had my left knee scoped last week and back surgery the week before! The knee feels great, but the back is still quite sore. They did a lot more work on that--rods, screws, and plates. It's only been a couple of weeks, so it will get better soon! Once I'm healed, I should be back running again!

DtB: What’s it like being on the road so much? How do you fit in running, sleep, and all the other things that keep the body healthy?

DB: I am on the road a lot speaking at schools, races, and corporate events, and I so love what I do! My wife Jill handles all my speaking arrangements and trys to travel with me as much as she can, so that really helps! As far as running, I just make it happen! I don't miss very many days, and many of them I am up running at 3 AM to get my run in because I know I will be traveling that day. Thankfully I've never needed a lot of sleep, but when I get the chance--not to often--I really enjoy a good nap!

DtB: Was Miki Gorman, your fellow inductee, in Utica for the induction? You are kind of polar opposites in personality. Miki being very reserved, and you the bubbly outgoing type. Did you get a chance to talk to her, compare notes, etc.?

DB: Yes, Miki was the other inductee. Of course I had read about her and knew about the incredible running career she had. This was the first time I'd ever met her. She is one of the nicest, sweetest persons I have ever met! You're right she is very quiet and reserved. They almost had to force her to get up and say a few words. She looks amazing, and will be 75 years old next month!

DtB: What are your plans for the future? Any particular goals—times to run, milestones to celebrate, thoughts on settling down or keeping on doing what you’re doing for as long as you can?

DB: Running wise, I'm hoping to run Grandma's Marathon next year. It will be the 30th anniversary of when I ran 2:09 there. Before I had my new knee put in, I was still running marathons in the 2:40's, but it has been over two years now since I have run one. My goal at Grandma's would be to break three hours. That would give me five decades of running a sub three hour marathon. I hadn't even thought about that until Amby Burfoot from RW mentioned it to me. That really fires me up to go after it!

I so enjoy my running, and I still enjoy competing! Career wise, I so love speaking that I can't imagine not doing it! Saying that, down the road a few years from now I would like to cut back the number of engagements and have more time to spend with Jill and our boys. As you know, I was a fishing guide in Minnesota for years and would love to get back into that here in Texas.

Jill and I started the Dick Beardsley Foundation almost three years ago now. I really want to see that continue to grow. I have a great passion for the DBF and to help others struggling with chemical dependency!

Pictured are: (L to R)Dick Beardsley, Nina Kuscsik, Miki Gorman, Kathrine Switzer, Bill Rodgers, Larry Rawson

Photo by Wayne Baker

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