Minnesota native Dick Beardsley, an inductee into the National Running Hall of Fame due to his world-class marathon results in the early 1980's, is speaking at two events in Lincoln on July 12 and 14. In a sport where nice guys/girls are in the majority, Dick stands out as one of the nicest. He's perhaps best known for his 1982 Boston Marathon duel against Alberto Salazar, a race memorialized in the great book, "Duel in the Sun" written by John Brant.
Few professional marathoners earn enough sponsorship money to focus on training and racing, and it was even less common in the 1980's. Dick's primary profession was farming, and he was badly injured in a 1989 farming accident and three subsequent auto accidents. He eventually fell into chemical dependency but began a sober life in 1997. He suffered a further setback in 2015 when his son Andrew, an Iraq War veteran, committed suicide.
Dick has an acute understanding of distance running and mental health, and he's an accomplished speaker on both topics. In coordination with The Bridge Behavioral Health Center, The Lincoln Running Company and New Balance, there are two events that may be of interest to the Nebraska running community.
On Tuesday, July 12, he'll be speaking at a charity event for The Bridge's substance abuse recovery programs. Over 85% of the clients served by The Bridge are uninsured or receive Medicaid so the facility must rely on donations to meet the increasing cost of providing these services. The Bridge's services include medically monitored withdrawal from drugs and alcohol, respite care for individuals in crisis considering treatment options, as well as short and long-term residential treatment. The schedule for July 12 at the Gala at 2602 Park Blvd in Lincoln: 4:30 p.m hors d'oeuvres and mocktails served, and a one-hour presentation begins at 5:00 p.m. You can register for free at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/overcoming-adversity-fundraiser-with-dick-beardsley-registration-338529229037. This is a fundraiser, so during the event The Bridge will ask for free-will donations via Venmo, check or credit card. Ann Ringlein from the Lincoln Running Company is also inviting high school athletes and coaches to an event on Thursday, July 14. While invitations have been sent specifically to Lincoln Public School athletes, Ann emphasized that runners from all high schools are invited. That schedule includes a group run (a great way to interact with other teams) beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the Lincoln High track. After a brief break to refuel and hydrate, Dick will speak to the coaches and athletes beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Lincoln High Auditorium. If you're not able to run that day, Ann still invites HS athletes and coaches to attend the 9:00 talk. In Ann's words, "Dick will share (often humorous!) stories of his rise to the top and back down again - from humble beginnings to world-class runner status to near-death experiences that left him addicted to painkillers and everything in between, his countless examples of loss and redemption will inspire you." Dick has spoken to LPS athletes in prior years, and one LPS coach shared that his athletes were in awe when they listened to Dick's talk. No RSVP is required for the athlete/coach invite at Lincoln High. Just to be clear, this event is only open to high school athletes and coaches, and not the general public.
The Lincoln running community does a great job of hosting speakers like Mr. Beardsley, and these two events are great opportunities to learn more about distance running and mental health.
To learn more about:
Dick Beardsley: https://www.dickbeardsley.com/
The Bridge: https://thebridgenebraska.org/
Lincoln Running Company: https://www.lincrunningcompany.com/