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14 Minutes: A Running Legend's Life and Death and Lifeby Alberto Salazar
Synopses & Reviews
14 Minutes is the memoir of Alberto Salazar, the most accomplished, charismatic, and controversial marathoner in history. The narrative is framed in the 14 minutes in which Salazar was clinically dead after his shocking heart attack in 2007. The story describes his tempestuous relationship with his father, Jose Salazar, who was a close ally of Fidel Castro during the Cuban revolution. The narrative follows Albertos boyhood in New England, his rise to stardom at the University of Oregon, his dramatic victories in the New York City and Boston Marathons, his long malaise due to injuries, which resulted in a near-suicidal depression; his resurgence due to intense spiritual experiences and discipline; his close alliance with Phil Knight and the Nike corporation; and describes his numerous near-death experiences.
In this book those 14 minutes will be considered from every possible angle. Salazar will share some of the surprising things hes learned about cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular health. He will also share how modern medical science and technology are fundamentally changing the way we think about death. Salazar will acquaint readers with the latest research studying the near-death experience, which has burgeoned into a field of its own, blending science and the spirit in an especially fascinating combination.
But dont worry sports fans: mostly this book will tell the story of how a skinny, shy, insecure Cuban-American kid from small-town Massachusetts developed by sheer will—and Gods grace—into the greatest distance runner of his time. Along the way Salazar will introduce important people in his life ranging from the globes most famous socialist, Fidel Castro, to one of its most influential capitalists, Nike co-founder and CEO Phil Knight. He will transport readers back to the heady, electric days of the late 1970s, when running was changing American culture as radically as rock and roll had a decade earlier.
The book will take readers step-by-step through Salazars signature races, including his wins at the ‘80, ‘81, and ‘82 New York City Marathons, and his epic, and ultimately self-destructive, victory at the 1982 Boston Marathon. Readers will travel to Cubas central highlands and to the Willamette Valley of Oregon, and from the edge of the Indian Ocean in South Africa to a remote village in the war-torn Balkans. But throughout Salazars narrative he will keep returning to those 14 black, shattering, miraculous minutes. Surviving virtual death taught him how to live and now it is time for him to share what hes learned.
In 2007, after collapsing on a practice field at the Nike campus, champion marathoner Alberto Salazars heart stopped beating for 14 minutes. Over the crucial moments that followed, rescuers administered CPR to feed oxygen to his brain and EMTs shocked his heart eight times with defibrillator paddles. He was clinically dead. But miraculously, Salazar was back at the Nike campus coaching his runners just nine days later.
Salazar had faced death before, but he survived that and numerous other harrowing episodes thanks to his raw physical talent, maniacal training habits, and sheer will, as well as—he strongly believes—divine grace.
In 14 Minutes, Salazar chronicles in spellbinding detail how a shy, skinny Cuban-American kid from the suburbs of Boston was transformed into the greatest marathon runner of his era. For the first time, he reveals his tempestuous relationship with his father, a former ally of Fidel Castro; his early running life in high school with the Greater Boston Track Club; his unhealthy obsession to train through pain; the dramatic wins in New York, Boston, and South Africa; and how surviving 14 minutes of death taught him to live again.
About the Author
Alberto Salazar was the premier American marathoner of the early- to mid-80s. After a top-flight career as a distance runner at the University of Oregon, winning 1978 NCAA cross-country race, Salazar made his marathon début at the 1980 New York Marathon. He won the race again in 1981-82, and in 1981 his time of 2-08:13 was thought to be a world marathon record, but after re-measurement, the course was found to be slightly short. Salazar also won the 1982 Boston Marathon in a dramatic duel with Dick Beardsley, called the "Duel in the Sun". On the track he was TAC 10K champion in 1981 and 1983, and on the roads, he won numerous races short of the marathon distance. His attempt at Olympic honors in 1984 was hampered by injury, which also likely prevented him from making the 1988 Olympic Team. In the early 90s, Salazar began running some ultra-distance events and won the 1994 Comrades Marathon in South Africa, over 90 km, (56 miles). Salazar has worked as a consultant to Nike and a personal coach to many distance runners.
John Brant has written regularly for Runners World and Outside magazine. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and National Geographic Adventure among other publications. Duel in the Sun, on which this book is based, is Brants first book.
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