Brant, John 1951-
Brant, John 1951-
Born September 8, 1951.
Writer. Outside, Santa Fe, NM, contributing editor, 1992—.
Journalistic Excellence Award, Road Runners Club of America, 2002.
Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon, Rodale (Emmaus, PA), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including Runner's World, New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and National Geographic Adventure.
Portland, Oregon-based writer John Brant has contributed regularly to Runner's World for over two decades. Born September 8, 1951, he received the Journalistic Excellence Award from the Road Runners Club of America in 2002. In addition to working as a contributing editor for Outside since 1992, he has written pieces for such renowned periodicals as the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and National Geographic Adventure. Brant published his first book, Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon, in 2006. Duel in the Sun tells the true story of runners Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley, two competitors in the 1982 Boston Marathon, and how this historic race affected them for the rest of their lives. The intense training the runners do to prepare and the details about this memorable race comprise only part of the story of how Beardsley, the up-and-coming runner, beats the favorite, Salazar, by a two-second margin. Surprisingly, the intense battle brings on the decline of both runners' careers. In the years following the race, Salazar battles depression and Beardsley has physical ailments that lead to an addiction to pain killers. Each athlete struggles with his own personal demons for many years. However, true to their competitive natures, they overcome their own personal issues. Salazar finds healing through spirituality and Beardsley becomes a business owner and television personality. Ultimately, the two men become friends.
Many critics and running enthusiasts found much to like in Duel in the Sun. Todd Spires, writing in Library Journal called the book "a remarkable dual biography of a pair of famous runners who came from very different backgrounds." Complete Running Network blog contributor Aaron Engelsrud pointed out that "writing a book where everyone knows the outcome before it starts must be a daunting task." Duel in the Sun, he concluded, reminds readers that Salazar and Beardsley were "nothing more nor less than human," a fact which the reviewer commented is oft forgotten about athletes of this caliber.
Outdoor Athlete.com reviewer Jeff Banowetz described the book as "both inspirational and cautionary," adding that it "offers a glimpse into the mi[n]dset of the leaders of the golden age of running." A Publishers Weekly critic found Brant's style to be "unfocused and melodramatic," but nevertheless deemed the story "sad yet triumphant" and remarked that "runners especially will enjoy the suspense of the race." Wes Lukowsky, reviewing Duel in the Sun for Booklist, concluded that Brant's first effort presents "two inspiring tales, well told."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2006, Wes Lukowsky, review of Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon, p. 31.
Library Journal, February 15, 2006, Todd Spires, review of Duel in the Sun, p. 122.
Publishers Weekly, January 9, 2006, review of Duel in the Sun, p. 45.
Complete Running Network,http://www.club-phoenix.org/ (February 21, 2008), Aaron Engelsrud, review of Duel in the Sun.
Outdoor Athlete.com,http://www.outdoorathlete.com/ (September 26, 2006), Jeff Banowetz, review of Duel in the Sun.