"...a runner of any caliber almost never outlives the need to run. Once you get hooked-once the day comes when you suffer more by not running-you're stuck with it. Your daily runs become your solace and refuge, the place where you reflect, heal, and pray." Alberto Salazar in "14 Minutes"
14 Minutes: A Running Legend's Life and Death and Life. I started it back a couple of months ago and didn't return to it until this weekend. Alberto is a running legend known for his awkward running style, dogged determination, and haughty stature holding a spot at the top as the greatest marathon runner alive in the early 1980s. He is also an enigmatic man, who seems a little difficult to figure out. It does seem, however, that Alberto has spent much time figuring out exactly who is his.
This book is a journey through the many threads and pathways of Alberto's life as a runner and person. The central part of the story is not really his outstanding running career, but rather the heart attack and subsequent 14 minutes of "death" before his heartbeat was fully restored. We learn about his demanding family life and his relationship with his father, who at one time was a confident of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara before escaping Cuba. Alberto's strong Catholic faith comes through as well as his belief in miracles at a site in Yugoslavia called Megjugorje that turned a silver necklace to gold for his father years before he claims the same miracle for himself on his own pilgrimage. We also learn about a boys drowning at a hometown pond that haunts the young Alberto. These images of death and struggle tempered with miracles and hardheadedness lead to two of the central running stories in the book: Alberto's collapse at the 1978 Falmouth Road Race that lead to a 108 degree temperature and the reading of last rights to Alberto and his epic Duel in the Sun at the 1982 Boston Marathon with Dick Beardsley. Alberto's introspection and the way he seems to compartmentalize all his experiences makes for an interesting, but not wholly inspired reading.
|Photo I took of an injured Salazar handing out awards at|
the 1983 Falmouth Road Race.
Preview of 14 Minutes and videos of Salazar and Beardsley retelling the Duel in in the Sun race.
How I made Sports Illustrated and Salazar and the Duel in the Sun.
Salazar, Ritzenhein, and the perfect stride.
1977 Falmouth Road Race
1978 Falmouth Road Race
1982 Boston Marathon