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2018 Guest Legend

Dick Beardsley

Marathon Champion | Survivor | Motivational Speaker | Author | Expert Fishing Guide

Back by popular demand, marathon champion Dick Beardsley will be back as our 2018 Guest Legend. Dick will appear at the expo on Thursday, April 26, and Friday, April 27; give a talk at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, April 27, as part of our Speaker Series in the ARC Auditorium; give a brief talk at 6:00 p.m. at the Pasta Feed on Friday, April 27; and co-host the Illini Radio Group prerace radio show starting at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 28.

About Dick’s talk: How to Take on Goliath by Being Your Best. Many young organizations are faced with the daunting challenge of taking on market leading brands and companies that have decades of success and pedigree. This is exactly what Dick faced in the 1982 Boston Marathon by taking on the world record holder and never-before-challenged “King” Alberto Salazar. Starting with training, both mentally and physical, to the starting line and to the brink in this unbelievable finish, Dick shares the underlying learnings of how to take on the “Goliaths” in life and give them a run for their money. Dick will show you how to reach for excellence and make it a reality.


About Dick Beardsley

Dick Beardsley is one of the world’s most extraordinary, respected, and compelling motivational/inspirational keynote speakers. Dick wrote the international best-selling autobiography Staying the Course: A Runners Toughest Race and is the subject of the best-selling book, Duel in the Sun: The Story of Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America’s Greatest Marathon. Dick is also the subject of a feature film being produced entitled Against the Wind.

Dick has been the keynote speaker at Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, conferences, conventions, corporate events, fundraisers, galas, sporting events, prisons, schools, and drug treatment centers, to name a few—anywhere where motivation, inspiration, and hope is needed. Dick has spoken to countless number of groups all over the world, ranging in size from 5 people to 15,000 people.

Dick has a gift of making people laugh, cry, and most importantly, think and appreciate life to the fullest, despite any ups and downs that may come along. You will be walked through his exciting highs and his dark valley of despair and through the anguish to that great light of hope and redemption. Dick’s talks are directly from his heart and are highly inspirational.

For a brief moment in the early ’80s Dick Beardsley became the most famous runner /athlete in the world—by losing a race. In the 1982 Boston Marathon, Beardsley, foiled by a motorcycle that cut him off near the end of the race, finished two seconds behind Alberto Salazar in a contest often called one of the most memorable in marathon history. It was the closest finish ever at the world’s premier marathon, and both runners broke the course and the American records.