14 Minutes by Alberto Salazar

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Despite the grander familial, political, and existential themes, Salazar's biography will nevertheless appeal mainly to runners.
-Publishers Weekly


In 2007, after collapsing on a practice field at the Nike campus, champion marathoner Alberto Salazar's 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 Alberto Salazar

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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 Runner's 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 Brant's first book.
Published April 9, 2013 by Rodale. 258 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Sports & Outdoors, Religion & Spirituality, Self Help. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for 14 Minutes
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

Publishers Weekly

Below average
May 07 2012

Despite the grander familial, political, and existential themes, Salazar's biography will nevertheless appeal mainly to runners.

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WSJ online

Reviewed by Cameron Stracher on Apr 06 2012

The result is a book that is meditative and affecting, an engaging account of a true champion's rise, near-demise and arrival at peace.

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Sports Book Review Center

Reviewed by Budd Bailey on May 31 2016

Alberto Salazar presents his life story, and it's a pretty interesting effort for those who followed his running career. This was a very driven man who burned out relatively quickly as these things go, and suffered a heart attack that should have killed him at a relatively young ago.

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Gladys Ganiel

Reviewed by Gladys Ganiel on May 09 2012

For me, it is Salazar’s insights into everyday faith – that it is often mundane, repetitive, frustrating and punctuated by highs and lows (a lot like training for a marathon, actually) – that are the most impressive aspects of the book.

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