UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - It's been two years since the National Distance Running Hall of Fame held an induction, but Saturday they will once again welcome a new class, with the additions of Miki Gorman and Dick Beardsley. The ceremony will take place at the Boilermaker Health & Fitness Expo at the Masonic Care Community at 3 p.m.
On Friday at the Expo a portrait of the indcutees was unveiled, as Beardsley and Gorman shared their experiences with the crowd, as well as former inductees like Bill Rodgers and Katherine Switzer, who were members of the first class, in 1998.
"I'm just overwhelmed and so honored and blessed and humbled. When I started as a kid in high school, I couldn't make the varsity squad my first year. Now to be in the Distance Running Hall of Fame, I'm just overwhelmed by it," Beardsley said.
"Actually I'm so surprised and I can't believe that I'm here. It's been a long time since I've become inactive and it reminds me of a lot of nice memories from running," said Gorman.
Switzer was excited for both of the inductees, whom she knows very well, but was especially happy for Gorman, who was a pioneer in women's running, having been the first woman to win the New York and Boston Marathons twice. "She is very self effacing, would never speak much about herself, but she is an amazing, mighty woman. 98 pounds and every pound is packed with dynamite."
Beardsley was a superb runner, but may be best known for one he didn't win, the 1982 Boston Marathon. Known as the "Duel in the Sun," Beardsley fought Alberto Salazar to the end and led before a motorcycle escort cut him off. thus allowing Salazar a chance to take the lead, which he did.
Rodgers, another legend of the Boston Marathon who also won the Boilermaker in 1983, talked about how special the Distance Running Hall of Fame is to the sport, which continues to grow, as evidenced by the new record of 13,000+ expected to run the Boilermaker 15k on Sunday. "It's very important for the competitive runners careers, we all know each other, follow each other, the older runners, the younger ones, there's a connection. Our sport being one of the biggest sports in America and the world, there's a certain power to it I think and it's always been first class, the way it has been done here in Utica."