Retired marathoner addresses addiction and recovery in SD

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A retired world class long-distance runner shared his message of addiction and recovery in South Dakota.

Dick Beardsley, Minnesota native known for being runner-up in the 1982 Boston Marathon, spoke with students at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology about mental health and determination.

Many can recall the challenges Beardsley took on in trying to beat world record holder, Alberto Salazar, in the momentous race. But it was the subsequent trials he faced after the race that took him to task.

"As I was finishing that race, I told myself, 'I'll never face anything so difficult as this again.' But I was so wrong," Beardsley told the audience.

Beardsley endured three subsequent freak accidents post-retirement.

Two of the injuries include a truck striking him while on a run in Fargo, North Dakota, and his left leg being mangled by a tractor in his native Minnesota.

Beardsley became addicted to pain killers by the early 1990s, at times taking as many as 90 pills a day. It provided him with a front row view of the current opioid epidemic plaguing America.

"I was the same as someone in an alleyway shooting up on heroin," said an energetic Beardsley. "I was a narcotics addict."

He even became addicted to methadone while receiving treatment in a Fargo hospital.

It took a late-night bus ride to Minneapolis, spending a distressing week without sleep in a hospital bed and attending therapy sessions, before Beardsley reaching sobriety.

"A doctor told me, 'This will be the hardest thing you ever do. It will be hell.' And he was right," Beardsley said to the nearly 100 people on hand.

Now sober for 22 years, Beardsley impressed upon his audience to never forget their own hard work.