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Runner Beardsley files for bankruptcy

Dick Beardsley, a legendary marathon runner who recently sold his interest in the Fargo retail store that bore his name, has filed for bankruptcy relief in Texas.

Dick Beardsley
Dick Beardsley

Dick Beardsley, a legendary marathon runner who recently sold his interest in the Fargo retail store that bore his name, has filed for bankruptcy relief in Texas.

Beardsley and his wife, Jill, filed a petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition on July 20, listing assets of $72,509 and liabilities of $176,734.

They owe the Internal Revenue Service $87,616 in taxes from 2006 to 2009, making the IRS the largest of the more than 50 creditors on their list filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Austin, where they live.

"We did it to consolidate some IRS debt, and that's it. That's the end of the story," Jill Beardsley said by phone this week.

The list of creditors also includes a handful of area businesses, among them Cornerstone Bank of Enderlin, N.D. ($18,305), Maring Williams Law Office of Fargo ($4,775) and North Shore Productions of Detroit Lakes, Minn. ($2,700).

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The IRS seized cash from the couple five days before they filed for bankruptcy, according to their statement of financial affairs filed with the court.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief is designed for people with regular income who want to pay off their debts in installments over a period of time.

An income schedule filed with the court shows Beardsley and his wife have combined average monthly income of $11,263 and average monthly expenses of $8,760. The roughly $2,500 left over at the end of the month will be used to pay down about $155,000 in debt over five years, according to their proposed repayment plan.

The couple lists more than $31,000 in credit card debt owed to more than a dozen banks and credit card companies.

Dick Beardsley is a two-time winner of Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn. He still holds the course record with a time of 2:09:37 on June 20, 1981.

But he's perhaps best known for finishing the 1982 Boston Marathon in 2:08:54, just two seconds behind winner Alberto Salazar in a famous race dubbed "The Duel in the Sun." As of April 2008, Beardsley's mark was still 10th best among the all-time U.S. marathon times.

Beardsley became addicted to painkillers following a farm accident in 1989 and two auto accidents. He forged prescriptions at local pharmacies until he was caught in late 1996 and was sentenced in Clay County District Court to five years of probation and 460 hours of community service, Forum archives show.

His experiences led him to create the nonprofit Dick Beardsley Foundation, which educates about chemical dependence and helps addicts find treatment. He's been a motivational speaker since 1998.

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"The foundation is not involved in any way in this bankruptcy," Jill Beardsley said, adding, "I don't think I can stress that enough to you."

In April 2007, Beardsley opened the Dick Beardsley Running Co. at 1801 45th St. S. in Fargo. Last May, he sold his interest in the company for $10,500 to a four-person partnership that included Fargo Marathon Executive Director Mark Knutson, according to court papers and Forum archives. The store was renamed Go Far Sports.

Knutson said Wednesday that he hadn't heard about Beardsley's bankruptcy and "really knew nothing" about his personal situation at the time of the sale.

"He's a good friend, so ... it's unfortunate to hear that and, you know, I guess it can happen to any one of us on any given day, really," Knutson said.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Dick Beardsley Half Marathon in Detroit Lakes. Beardsley still plans to speak at a spaghetti feed the night before the Sept. 11 race, his wife said.

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