Dick Beardsley is hailed as one of the greatest long-distance runners of all time. In 1982, he nearly beat the world record for the Boston Marathon by running the race in two hours, eight minutes and two seconds, according to KeloLand.com.
While he has retired from running, he is still trying to make a difference by telling motivational stories to students across the country, using his own troubled childhood as an example of growth.
"We've all been through trying times in our life and these kids [want a message that will] give them the hope that… [they] can go on to be very successful at whatever they choose they want to do," he told the news provider.
Beardsley grew up in a home where both of his parents were alcoholics and would verbally and physically abuse each other. Beardsley did not succumb to alcohol, but ended up addicted to painkillers.
Now 55 and sober for 14 years, he wants to spread his message – it's not about how you start the race, but how you finish.
Dick Beardsley is the only man to have run 13 consecutive personal best times in marathons and has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for the accomplishment.