Burfoot has long been active in running
Though they only see each other 3-4 times a year — one lives in Austin, Texas, and the other in Connecticut — Amby Burfoot still considers Dick Beardsley a close enough friend that when he asked him to take part in this year’s Beardsley Run, Burfoot didn’t hesitate.
“We have a real and deep appreciation for each other, because we’ve both been in the sport for so long, and more importantly, as runners with integrity and a positive outlook,” Burfoot said in a recent telephone interview.
Though Burfoot celebrated his 68th birthday in August, the 1968 Boston Marathon champion is still an avid runner. His biography on the Runner’s World website, where he serves as an editor-at-large (after 20 years as the magazine’s executive editor), says he “still runs 30 miles a week for health, fun and occasional races.”
“While most people know me for the Boston Marathon win in ’68, my proudest accomplishment in running is that I’ve run the same Thanksgiving Day race for 51 years in a row in Manchester, Conn.,” Burfoot said.
Though his placement in that race, the Thanksgiving Day 5-Miler, has fallen a bit from the days when he would routinely cross the finish line first in his teens and 20s, the nine-time Manchester champion said, “It’s still meaningful for me to stay in it as a participant.”
Though he tends to stay a little closer to home in his running efforts these days, Burfoot was intrigued when he received the invitation from Beardsley to make the trek to Detroit Lakes.
“It’s a part of the world I haven’t been to before,” he said. “I’m very excited to be coming there.”
Burfoot and Beardsley will both be speaking at the City Park Bandshell in Detroit Lakes on Friday night, Sept. 5, and they will also share some stories while presenting awards to the winners of Saturday’s race.
“I plan to run the half marathon too,” Burfoot said. “I don’t expect to win anything, but I look forward to running it.”
He also plans to spend three or four days in the lakes area, enjoying the late summer scenery.
“I hope to run a little bit, see a little bit of the area and talk to as many people who want to hear me talk as possible,” he said.
A brief look back
Ambrose “Amby” Burfoot is an American distance runner whose peak competitive years came in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was the winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon.
“I consider myself very lucky to have grown up during the great years of Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson, when they were running so well and winning so many races,” Burfoot said. “Like Dicky (Beardsley), they are all great friends of mine.”
After retiring from competition, Burfoot became a running journalist and author. From approximately 1985-2005, he was the executive editor at Runner’s World, where he currently serves as both a contributor and editor-at-large.
“I’ve known Dick through all his years in the sport,” Burfoot said. “First I was covering him for Runner’s World during his heyday as an athlete, and then when he had his years of trouble, which we also covered in Runner’s World, because runners like hearing about people who have their problems coming back and triumphing over those issues.”