The RunBentonville Half Marathon is pleased to welcome back DICK BEARDSLEY as our special guest for half marathon weekend!
The story of Dick's running career alone is the stuff of legends, but it is the story that comes after that draws people in and keeps them listening. Dick is a true survivor. Having looked death straight in the eyes, during a farm accident, Dick's life is a story of hope and redemption.
After retiring from running, Dick had a series of near fatal accidents that left him addicted to pain killers. On September 30, 1996, when he was taking a cocktail of Valium, Percocet, and Demerol, all very highly addictive narcotics, 80 - 90 pills a day - he was caught. Dick spent hours with federal DEA agents, convincing them that he was taking them all, every last one of them and not selling them, as they has suspected, given the high number of prescriptions.
His story of overcoming extreme obstacles speaks to anyone who loves competition, who has survived catastrophe, or who has pursued a seemingly impossible goal.
Join us and be inspired by this legendary athlete and human being!
2015: Craig Virgin
Craig Virgin completed 23 years of competition in the three sports available in long distance running: cross country, track, and road racing. Rated national or world class for most of his career. Craig retired from serious competitive running in January of 1992. He has been running for over 40 years, and participates in other cross training activities like elliptical, biking, swimming and weight lifting for fitness. Craig still enjoys promoting both the sport ant personal fitness.
2014: Joan Benoit Samuelson
The 4th Annual Bentonville Running Festival welcomed Joan Benoit Samuelson as our official Guest Speaker/Runner. Samuelson was the first woman EVER to win an Olympic Gold Medal in the marathon distance at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She also won the Boston Marathon twice and set an American record time in the 1985 Chicago Marathon.
Rodgers won both the Boston and New York City Marathon four times each between 1975 and 1980, twice breaking the American record at Boston with a time of 2:09:55 in 1975 and a 2:09:27 in 1979. In 1977 he won the Fukuoka Marathon, making him the only runner ever to hold the championship of all three major marathons at the same time. He made the 1976 U.S. Olympic team and raced the marathon at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, finishing 40th. Rodgers is also the last U.S.-born winner in the men's or women's open divisions of the New York City Marathon to date.
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, 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.