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14 Minutes

A Running Legend's Life and Death and Life

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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.

Publishers Weekly Review

May 07, 2012 – Three-time New York Marathon winner Salazar suffered a heart attack in 2007, and was clinically dead for 14 minutes. While admittedly incredible, the author's harrowing experience ultimately proves too unsubstantial to keep this memoir moving. The book chronicles the author's life from boyhood, to competitive success (including a world record at the 1981 New York Marathon), to the career-ending slump that followed. Now a coach, Salazar's message honors determination and drive, but warns against the dangers of "extreme athletic excess" (years of punishing training and an "absolute refusal to lose" may have contributed to Salazar's attack). These sentiments, while valuable, are not sufficiently unique or compelling for the book to transcend the category of the running memoir. The most interesting strand of the narrative is actually Salazar's rocky relationship with his father, a Cuban émigré who was "a friend and comrade" of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, but who later felt betrayed by the revolution's embrace of communism. Salazar Sr. never recovered from his "obsession" with Cuba, and the author suggests that it is this "inherited…passion" that pushed him to succeed. Paradoxically, running was also a way for the Salazar to escape the "atmosphere of rage…that father had engendered." Despite the grander familial, political, and existential themes, Salazar's biography will nevertheless appeal mainly to runners. 8 b/w photos.

Customer Reviews

How to understand the limits of an elite athlete.

Impressive the way how alberto describe his true "out of limits" way of running to become one of the most dominant marathoners of his era.
From a latin/cuban conservative perspective how a young kid become so obsessive to become a true runner, the best in his class until the famous "Duel in the Sun" Boston marathon in 1982, through declining, depression, how he loss the "gold dream" in 1984 Olympic Games, injuries that make a difficult transition for best marathoner from 1980-1983. To become a Nike Oregon Project trainer and how he faced "the most difficult 14 minutes of his life".
Easy reading …. to understand the real obsessions that are "behind scenes" these sport warriors

Don't wait for the movie!

This book takes you from drive of running than to passion and show you how someone could love running. If you run you will love the historic story Albert had shared here. If you don't run than maybe this book can give you a little idea of why we do what we do. The mystery behind the effort and long training days.
An unspoken example is also given for the young who seek to follow in Alberto's marathon accomplishments. Greatness comes at a high cost and Alberto nearly paid with his life. I enjoyed every moment of this book. This is perhaps the first book in a long time to kept me up reading at night. May you enjoy it as much as I did. Highly recommend to anyone who is thinking of running a half or marathon. It will teach you many things that would take a lifetime to learn on your own.
Thank You!

No need to die young

This is a two part advice to Alberto Salazar and to the readers:

Alberto, I hope this review reaches you, for it i think this advice can safe your life.

Read "Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease" by Dr Caldwell Esselstyn. You will discover that what happened to you was 99.9% preventable. Also, i am most concerned by how you end you book: You are leaving your fate (health) at the hands of your doctor & God. This approach will kill you before your time and that is a real loss to those around you. You did a great amount of research on how the heart works, but that won't prevent the next heart attack.

I found the book to be well written, with a great message: Sometimes what you desire most will not bring you happiness.

From a runners perspective, I was hoping that Salazar would provide concrete guidance on how to optimally train for a road race, etc. He does provide any guidance here. This book is merely his autobiography and his quest to find meaning in his life.

14 Minutes
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: May 01, 2012
  • Publisher: Rodale
  • Seller: Rodale Inc.
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings