'It just happened,' Beardsley recalled. 'Nothing was pre-planned.' Even though neither sought to win outright, their time - 2hr 11min 48sec - was the fastest ever in England and contributed to a record sequence of 13 consecutive personal bests by Beardsley, who peaked at 2.08:53 in Boston in 1982.
Beardsley retired to his dairy farm in 1988, whereupon he entered an extraordinary sequence of mishaps. 'First I got caught up in a rotating shaft on the farm and almost had my left leg torn off at the knee. I was really lucky - twice they were going to amputate.'
Next: three road accidents. 'A lady ran a stop sign and totalled our car; then I got hit by a truck, and then, in a snowstorm, I flipped my own truck and totalled that.'
Incredibly, he plans a comeback. 'I had back surgery and haven't run since December but if I can get back into half-decent shape I may go after a sub-2.20 as a master (veteran), maybe in London in 1996.'
Now 38, the farm sold, he lives with his wife and adopted Honduran son in Crookston, Minnesota, making a living as a motivational speaker, farm broadcaster and fishing expedition guide.
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