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Original Issue


The family of José and Marta Salazar can be traced to the Roman Empire: Now their son is making history, too

History looms over Alberto Salazar. He's already in the books for good, of course, with his 2:08:13 marathon last October in New York, the first improvement of the world's best time in that event in 12 years. This he did in only his second attempt at the distance. That Salazar mildly predicted the time (and that of his first marathon, a winning 2:09:41 at New York in 1980) gives his performance a human appeal that assures its continuing to shine in our collective imagination long after his record is broken.

Because Salazar is only 23 and blessed with a superb coach, a rewarding place to train, a tough, helpful wife and the conviction that he has many years yet to improve, he will be the man to break his record. We have his word on it: "2:06, 2:05," he has said. "Before I finish I should be in that range."

But history holds Salazar in another way as well, in an embrace he has sometimes struggled against. In his running and in his larger character, he is the contemporary expression of traits that have been in his family for centuries, for millennia. Salazar's mother, Marta Galbis Rigol Salazar, can trace her name to the Roman General Galba, who conquered the Alicante region of Spain 1,900 years ago. In 68 A.D., after Nero's death, Galba was made Emperor, "but was killed after a few months," in the words of The Reader's Encyclopedia, "because he was unwilling to fulfill the expectations of his followers." It would not be the last death in this family traceable to an abundance of pride and will.

On his father's side, each of the 11 generations that preceded Alberto's produced individuals of exceptional talent and adherence to the right as they saw it. "God has been good to this family," José" Salazar has said. "Those generations kept the values of family and sacrifice and moral strength in times of corruption. The presence of those generations is a living force. I tell Alberto you can do what you want, but he knows the irresistible way of our history."

To this, Alberto has said, "Come on, Dad."

Yet to know Salazar, and to then learn of his ancestors, is to be confounded by the mystery of reappearing character. A blue-covered book was given to Molly Morton and Alberto Salazar when they married last December. It is a privately printed history of the Garesché, Bauduy and des Chapelles families, which delineates Alberto's paternal forebears, by Dorothy Garesché Holland of St. Louis. It traces for five centuries how these three names mingled to form a great intermarried clan remarkable for military bravery, aiding and opposing revolution, colonizing Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic), subsequent dispossession by slave uprisings and a re-flowering in Wilmington, Del. and later in Cuba. Alberto Salazar was born in Havana on Aug. 7, 1958, in the midst of revolution. At the age of 2 he participated in his family's latest exodus, to Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Thus it's appropriate in a discussion of his life to include some paragraphs concerning these ancestors, not because Alberto has been particularly aware of them, but because he has not. The matter of predictions, for example, Dorothy Holland writes:

...on October 4, 1790, when Pierre Bauduy de Bellevue and Juliette Thér√®se Jeanne Julienne le Bretton des Chapelles were married at her father's home in Léogane [Santo Domingo].... Among her [childhood] friends was Josephine Tascher de la Pagerie. One day Juliette, Josephine and a third girl whose name is not known, had their fortunes told by an old slave, Euphemia. The seer said that Josephine would be a queen and an empress; that the unnamed girl would be a princess and that Juliette would marry one of her own rank. Josephine, of course, eventually married Napoleon, and Juliette, Pierre. The other girl left Santo Domingo shortly after the fortune-telling incident and started for Europe with her parents. On the way their ship was seized by pirates and she was taken as a captive to Turkey. Here a Persian prince fell in love with her and made her his bride....

Alberto Salazar's family spent its first 10 years in the U.S. in Manchester, Conn. "The backyard was two hills down to a pond," says Marta. "Alberto and his two older brothers and his sister [Richard, now 27, who flies an F-14 from the carrier John F. Kennedy, José, 25, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts in marine biology; and Maria Cristina, 29, who runs a translation service in Miami. A younger brother, Fernando, is now 16] were running up and down those hills, playing constantly."

As a child Alberto was a perfectionist, never needing reminders to do his homework. At the earliest age he seems to have resented unwelcome intrusions and met them with rages. "He has always had the resistance to affront, the pridefulness in his character," says Marta. She recalls that when he was only 3, "before he could speak English, we were on vacation in Michigan, and we put him in a summer camp. The first day the teacher called and said, 'Come get your kid....' "

"We were sitting at lunch," Alberto says, "and I wasn't 3.1 was 6 or 7. [Actually, he was 5.] Anyway, a kid whipped me with a vine, stung me. I chased him. They grabbed me, held me, but I wouldn't calm down. I was in a fit...."

"They said, 'Alberto swears to take revenge on that kid,' " continues Marta. She has arrestingly sad, experienced Spanish eyes. "My father used to call me the Black Panther for my rages at about the age Alberto was then. I am of Basque descent. The part of Spain from where we come is famous for the people's bad temper. And José's grandfather.... Once his kids scratched a favorite table. Grandfather was so incensed he took it into the yard and burned it."

Alberto's brother Richard coaxed him into his first timed races when Alberto was 9. Alberto's hair-trigger temper nearly made them his last. "He got me all psyched up to run the half mile around the block, for which he held the record," says Alberto.

"I had cut through the alley to give him the 440 time," says Richard, "and got back to the finish and waited, and waited...."

"I got tired," says Alberto. "And I knew I wouldn't come close to his time."

"So I found him, sitting down, sick, saying, 'This is stupid,' " says Richard.

But Alberto simply loved to run. Uncatchable at tag, he organized his pursuers into relays to keep the game interesting. His memories of fifth- and sixth-grade field days are photographic. "I won the 600 yards in the sixth grade, although I stopped to tie my shoelace," he says. "Nobody could believe it. Girls were saying, 'God, you beat John Lacy.' I ran home yelling with blue ribbons. I wrapped them in cellophane. I meant to save them forever." The ribbons are lost, but the struggles have not dimmed. "In the eighth grade I was sick for field day. My race was an 880. The whole school lined both sides of the course. I beat Carl Geig by six inches." That Salazar remembers all the names of his opponents calls to mind his description of the marathon 10 years later: "It's taking a runner to the point where he has to give up. The marathon, with me, is ultimately a personal thing, very personal."

Richard, four years older, had run well for the high school in Wayland, Mass., where the Salazars had moved when Alberto was 11, and went on to do a 4:06 mile at the Naval Academy and captain the Middies' cross-country team. "He was my primary influence well into high school," says Alberto. "His coach at Navy, Al Cantello [who once held the world record in the javelin throw] was good friends with Bill Dellinger of Oregon, so Richard would pass on to me stories of what Oregon guys like Steve Prefontaine did. I started doing two workouts a day when I was a junior because of that; and beginning in my sophomore year, I always had peaches and toast as my pre-race meal because Dellinger had eaten them once when they were the only things available in the house, and then he'd gone out and won his high school state meet."

Before his junior year at Wayland, Salazar ran a 9:28 two mile, proof of solid talent. To the credit of his coach, Don Benedetti, Salazar was permitted to train with members of the Greater Boston Track Club and its famously garrulous coach, Bill Squires. "From the first Squires always stressed the long-term way of looking at things, always talked about 10 years down the line," says Salazar. "I'd read of high school guys going 130 miles per week, so I tried it. He grabbed me and said, 'Listen, now is a time to grow, not wreck yourself.' "

It was hard enough at 80 per week, that first year with the Greater Boston TC. "The long intervals seemed to last forever, but gradually I was able to keep up," says Salazar. "It seemed haphazard at times, the way he'd give me a shoebox with my workout written on it, or a napkin. He seemed to speak gibberish a lot. 'You're in with the guppies today,' turned out to mean that I was training with the high school runners. 'The horses' were guys like Bill Rodgers, Dickie Mahoney, Vin Fleming, Mark Duggan, Freddie Doyle and Kirk Pfrangle. They took me in and gave me a nickname, the Rookie, and taught me tactics. The insistence on full recovery, on consistency and on not overracing was the same that I'd get later from Del-linger at Oregon. I've been lucky in being coached the same way for eight years."

After his junior year Salazar was second in the National Junior 5,000 and tied Craig Virgin's age-group record. "That was when I knew I was going to be really good." he says. His gravitation toward Oregon and its running tradition seemed inevitable, though he looked at Duke and Stanford just to make sure. Although he finished high school in the top 5% of his class, Salazar nonetheless chose his college on the basis of sport, and perhaps out of sympathy for Dellinger. "When he visited, my father put him through four hours of home movies," Salazar says. "He took it."

"I was numb from those movies," Dellinger says now.

Marie [Bauduy] had been sought in marriage by M. Fourneau de Marsilly of Santo Domingo, with whom she was very much in love. Her mother approved but her despotic father was violently opposed and would not permit it. A bitter family quarrel ensued with the result that Pierre Bauduy obtained lettres de cachet [blank arrest warrants signed by the King of France] for both of them; in one he consigned his daughter to the Ursuline Convent in Tours on January 18, 1769, and in the other he forced his wife to return to Santo Domingo, a place he detested.

[This Pierre's son, Jean Baptiste Bauduy, was a "man of talents...courage and imperious will...." In 1791 he was managing the family's plantation, Bellevue, in Santo Domingo, when, as a result of the French Revolution, the island's 400,000 slaves began to rebel.] Jean Baptiste Bauduy...had made himself particularly obnoxious to the democratic whites by his fierce invectives against their leaders.... One day a band of mulattoes...approached [Bellevue, where Jean Baptiste and a few others had been barricaded for four months] and all prepared to fight. But Jean Baptiste Bauduy, who, according to the old manuscript, "for all his faults was fearless," waved them back and went out alone, thinking he could dissuade the attackers. But no sooner had he stepped out on the gallery than he was shot down.

Salazar has said, "Growing up, I had a close look at obsession," by which he meant his father. José Salazar, who still lives in Wayland, is a leading spokesman for the Cuban exile community in the Northeast. "He was involved in demonstrations, he was on the phone five hours every night organizing," says Alberto. "And I hated hearing about it. It was hard for a little kid to care about anything 1,500 miles away that he didn't even remember. I'd say, 'Let's not talk politics,' and he'd shout, 'This is not politics. It is friends starving to death in that country, suffering atrocities.' There wasn't anything like that in the newspapers. I shut my mind to it."

But Alberto also came to know what his father had done in Cuba, to appreciate the remarkable vantage from which his parent spoke. José Salazar had first met Fidel Castro when they were both students, Castro in law, Salazar in engineering, at the University of Havana in the late '40s and early '50s.

"I liked Castro. He was a brilliant, charismatic man," says José. "We were from different Catholic high schools, he the Jesuits, I the Christian Brothers. His father made a fortune in sugar in a frontier town and sent him to boarding school. He needed a family upbringing. At the university he spoke out against Batista [Fulgencio Batista, Cuba's dictator in 1933-44, 1952-59]. As did I."

When Castro led the revolt of 1958 to overthrow Batista, Salazar was a lieutenant in the rebel army. "My dad's family had always been freedom fighters," says Alberto. "His grandfather was jailed with his whole class of medical students in 1871 for defacing the tomb of a Spanish newspaperman. Eight were shot. It was the incident that finally tore it between Spain and Cuba and made the 1895 war of independence inevitable."

When Batista was defeated, in 1959, Castro put Salazar in charge of examining Cuba's agreements with other countries. "He found out where France owed Cuba a couple million dollars," says Alberto, "but at that time Ché Guevara was getting arms from France and didn't want to jeopardize the arrangement, so Guevara and my father had a big row. Castro reassigned Dad to oversee all tourist construction. He built 49 projects—hotels, housing developments, national parks—in a year and a half."

"José was so happy then," says Marta, "doing his dream, working for the government with all the help and money he needed; he was having a grand time. The rest of us looked around at the way things were going. Parents were to have no say in their children's education. It was to be government indoctrination. Castro expelled the priests and nuns who had educated generations of Cubans."

"We had no knowledge that Castro had become a Marxist," says José. "Then I had another confrontation with Ché Guevara over a community development project in Oriente province. He refused to let it be built with a church. I refused to build without one." Castro supported Guevara. Salazar resigned in October 1960, when it became clear to everyone that Castro was turning Cuba into a Marxist state. "This is no longer a Cuban revolution," Salazar announced to those who worked for him.

"It was silly to do it that way." says Marta. "At once friends came and took him away from the house for his safety." The police were at the Salazars' home in two hours. José escaped to Miami, and begged Marta to join him in the U.S.

"I never truly understood I would have to leave Cuba," says Marta. "I was in shock. There were no suitcases. My sisters packed boxes while I watched and cried. I couldn't move my arms. I thought, why should I take anything if I am going to die? I cried from the time I left home until we got to the airport. There I had to act naturally because everyone faced an inquisition from a table of men who detained many people. I was afraid they would turn us back because of our name. Still I couldn't stop crying—until I was called."

Suddenly controlled, Marta brought her four small children forward. "There was a man there with green cat eyes and a mean face," she says. "The officials took my purse and looked through it, and my child José [then 4] grabbed the green-eyed man's pen. I was horrified. But the man broke into a big, kind grin, and we were set free."

Stepping from the plane in Miami, Marta was met by José, "who told me he was in the training camp for the Bay of Pigs invasion." When that failed—José, assigned to the third wave of invaders, was not sent onto Cuban soil—the family settled in Connecticut.

Now, when José speaks of Castro, he talks less of evil than weakness. "He did not have a background to combat his ambition," José says. It's José's belief that Marxism was a means to personal power for Castro, a bargain. "He must have agonized over what the Soviets forced him to do. He's not independent."

"I have an aunt," says Alberto, "who was the only one to stay. She saw all the promises not kept. In 1975, when I was 17, she got out. My father said, 'You haven't believed me. So now listen to her.' I did, and for the first time I understood how bad it was."

[Peter Bauduy was a founding partner, with E.I. du Pont, in the first DuPont gunpowder factory in Wilmington, Delaware in 1802, the beginning of a colossus. However, the two grew to detest each other, and after many difficult years Bauduy sold out to DuPont in 1815, and began his own gunpowder mill] Peter Bauduy sold the powder works to his two sons-in-law, John Peter and Vital Garesché, and left for Cuba [in 1819, starting the families' history there] determined to make a fresh start. The Eden Park Powder Mills, which had never been very successful, underwent a series of explosions, the last killing four men and seriously wounding several others. Before the last explosion John had warned one of the workmen to stop smoking or quit his job. The decision was made to give up the powder mills...In 1856 the Gareschés left Wilmington for Matanzas, Cuba....

When John Peter and Cora Garesché went to Cuba, their son John was employed at the Hazzard powder mills in Connecticut. An account of his death on Sept. 13, 1858 is as follows: [Mr. Hazzard wanted some improvement made]...but John, who foresaw the impracticality and danger, endeavored to prevail upon him not to undertake it and the night before he was killed, the eve of the contemplated trial, he spent the evening at Mr. Hazzard's and insisted most strenuously that it would not succeed and would only prove dangerous and probably fatal.

He was then told that he had better not assist at the trial. John was at the time about 22 or 23 years old. He replied that some of his workmen were men of family and he certainly could not permit them to risk their lives and he not his. That night he sat up until a late hour reading religious books on the subject of a sudden death.

The next morning the experiment was made and, as he had predicted, cost the lives of all those engaged in it. The mill exploded and he and his employees were all killed.

[When the Salazars had just escaped Cuba and were not yet settled, José wrote to the DuPont company offering his services in employment. The corporation replied it had no need of him.]

The first September night in 1976 that the two new Oregon freshmen roommates, Alberto Salazar and Rudy Chapa, who is of Mexican heritage, spent together in Eugene, they had a five-hour argument. "It started when we went to bed," says Chapa. "The subject was whether Bruce Jenner was the greatest athlete in the world. Alberto was for Bruce. He's such a track supporter. I said pro sports kept the best talent out of track." They shouted. They slammed furniture. They spoke in English. They grew reasonable. They spoke in Spanish. They screamed again. "We called it quits at 4 a.m.," says Chapa. "Alberto still says he won that argument. He didn't. But I knew I'd found an amazing friend."

They were an amazing pair of runners as well, the sweetly moving Chapa and the taller, skinnier, clumpier Salazar. Chapa was the better miler and 5,000-meter runner; he would win the 1978 NCAA 5,000 and set an American record of 7:37.7 for 3,000 meters in 1979. Salazar, without the gift of sprinting speed, determined that he would own the longer distances. "He said when we were freshmen that he would hold the world record in the marathon someday," says Chapa, who grew up in Hammond, Ind. and is now in law school at Indiana University. "But he was relaxed about how long it would take."

First, Salazar had to overcome shortcomings in technique. That freshman season, running a two-mile against Oregon graduate Paul Geis, who was the only U.S. finalist in the 1976 Olympic 5,000, Salazar led through the first seven laps. "He's tough," said an observer who had not seen him before. "Can he kick?"

"Kick?" said Roscoe Divine, who ran a 3:56.4 mile for Oregon in 1970, "Hell, look at him, he can barely run."

"Alberto was picking up his foot before his leg was fully extended behind him," says Dellinger. "So it looked like he ran like an old man. But as a sophomore he ran thousands of stadium steps with an inner tube filled with sand on his shoulders. That forced him to extend."

Dellinger's predecessor at Oregon, Bill Bowerman, marvels yet at Salazar's style. "We have had three runners at Oregon, Keith Forman [who ran a 3:58.3 mile in 1962], Kenneth Moore [who ran a 2:11:36 marathon in 1970] and Alberto Salazar, who were like bumblebees. Mechanically, you can prove bumblebees can't fly. It's impossible. But the bumblebees don't know that. My rule always was, 'Don't tell 'em.' "

Salazar wouldn't have listened anyway. "No, one of the problems with coaching Al then was convincing him he didn't have to run 500 miles per week," says Dellinger. "His dad called me in the summer before Al's junior year and said, 'He's got a broken foot but he's still running 15 miles a day.' I limited him to two miles, because I knew he'd go crazy if he couldn't run at all. I'd call and ask how far he'd gone that day. He'd squirm and say, 'Well, 12, but it felt better.' He ran 105 miles a week through a stress fracture."

And won the NCAA cross-country championship that November. "The tougher, the more severe conditions are, the better he'll do," says Dellinger, "except in the heat."

Like Rodgers, his fellow New England marathoner, Salazar rolls best in the chill. In the 1978 Falmouth (Mass.) Road Race, run in the warmth and humidity of August, Salazar drove himself to heat prostration, his body temperature soaring to 108° when he staggered in. He was packed in ice and given last rites, the former making the latter unnecessary. Facing heat-loving African opponents on warm June days, Salazar never won an NCAA 10,000 title on the track, though he's now the second-fastest American ever at that distance with his 27:40.6 in last September's World Cup.

In his sophomore year at Oregon, Salazar met Molly Morton, who in 1979 was breaking all the school's records for women at distances from 3,000 to 10,000 meters. Alberto is catching up in the records department, but Molly has always been more than a match for him. A dimpled blonde with a Bette Midler sense of humor, she sent obscene Christmas cards to the Oregon women's coach, Tom Heinonen, and maintained a rather complex relationship with her racing, as in the remark, "The only way for me to enjoy a 10,000 is to bring along a good book."

With Molly as inspiration, there were times, says Chapa, when Alberto was the true Latin lover, devoted, strutting and touchy. "It's there, like his mother said," he says, "that quickness to take offense. A number of times when he thought Molly had been insulted by some guy twice his size, he'd say, 'He may kill me, but I'm going after him.' We'd hold him a minute."

"Anglo culture teaches you to be restrained, to think before you act," says Salazar, while applying DMSO to a sore shin in the airy condominium in south Eugene where he and Molly now live. "In Latin culture you act before you think, you defend your pride, your ego, when hindsight may show you it was dumb. I know it's wrong, but I'm surprised at myself when I see an injustice done. I'm...well, I'm just bloodthirsty."

He hugs Toby, his adolescent black pit bull terrier, whom Alberto loves for having parallel traits with him. "An affectionate veneer over a core of accomplished killer," he says, grinning. "I read where a pit bull in L.A. jumped out of his yard, and in the hour before they caught him, he killed seven dogs." Alberto calculates. "That's a kill every eight minutes. Toby's going to go for the record when he's older, aren't you?

"Anyway, I think the Anglo idea of not letting your emotions rule you can hurt in running. You can think too much about time and pace and how tired you are. But pride can get you to do something that your better sense wouldn't. I know I do stupid things like training while injured. Athletes are supposed to be super-determined but ease off intelligently when hurt. I don't think that balance exists. If something makes me aggressive in a race, and that's good, how can I discard those traits in daily life?"

Chapa has said of Salazar, "He has the deepest pride I've ever known in a man. And when someone like that is as disciplined as he can't stop a guy like that."

Chapa himself has been slowed for more than a year by a chronic foot injury. "I want him to run well again," says Salazar with sudden fierceness. "If I had to run bad so he could run well, I'd take it." Seldom have both been at their best at the same time. "He's better balanced than I, more talented without a doubt," continues Salazar, "but without the obsessiveness. We plan to train in St. Moritz for eight weeks next June and July, and if he's healed by then, we'll come down for the Zurich 5,000."

"And he'll beat the crap out of you," says Molly.

"Aw, hell," says Salazar, almost luxuriating in the thought. "I wouldn't mind."

Major Julius Garesché had for some time been in the office of the Adjutant General in Washington, and in July 1862 he was made a colonel...and therefore subject to direct orders from Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.... According to a statement from a fellow officer, General Martin T. McMahon, there were frequent clashes between them: "[Garesché] was a wise counsellor, and many times consulted by the President, especially in the selection of officers for high command in the Army; who never submitted during the trying days he spent in the War Department under the then Secretary of War to anything that reflected upon his personal or official dignity. This brought him frequently into somewhat stormy conflict with Mr. Stanton; but the President, Mr. Lincoln, who had a very affectionate regard for him, always sustained him, for the good and sufficient reason that in all matters of dispute he was right.

"On one occasion, when the Secretary called for certain papers to send to Congress and wished them to be made out so as to contain a suppression of the truth, Col. Garesché positively refused to prepare them in the manner indicated."

[In 1862 Colonel Julius Garesché transferred to the staff of Major General William Rosecrans, commander of the Army of the Cumberland. He rode into his first battle, Murfreesboro, beside the general.] The battle started and Julius' horse was shot from under him.... He was mounted again and resumed his place at the side of General Rosecrans. To resume the account of Captain Bickham [Rosecrans' aide]: "In the midst of the horrible carnival...they were galloping through a tumult of iron missiles. An unexploded shell whizzed close by his leader and the head of Garesché vanished with it. Sickening gouts of his brains were scattered upon his comrades, who turned in horror from the ghastly spectacle. The mutilated form of the hero careened gently over the saddle and fell upon the field." General Rosecrans wrote: ...he probably felt not a single pain. I learned from his brother Alexander that he was supernaturally warned that he would die in the first battle in which he should be engaged."

Salazar's life, despite the mounting calls of race promoters and the freshness of his marriage, seems as settled as it has ever been. He's now a member of Athletics West, which provides him with broken-time payments, clerical help, medical attention and the services of a masseur to reduce the risk of injury. He plans to do some promotional work for the University of Oregon track program, but his essential task is running well. His marketing degree will be put to use in the future. He is sparing in his races.

"There's a difference between the races and travel necessary for big money," Chapa says, "and the careful training you need to reach your potential. A lot of runners have sold themselves. Rodgers is one that comes to mind. That will not happen to Alberto. He will be the best runner he can be."

As if to prove the point, Salazar has skipped all road races this month to lead the U.S. team in the world cross-country championships on March 21 in Rome. Only then will he decide whether to enter the Boston Marathon 29 days later. Looking farther ahead, he says, "I'll try for the Olympic marathon in 1984, but the Olympics have lost their appeal because the last three have been marred, and I made it in 1980 and we didn't go. So they're not the reason I'm running."

Of Alberto's motives, his mother has said, "It is not the money or the glory. I sense he's happy running, just in the act of it. It is something he has to express."

A gene perhaps. Some little fixture in Bauduy and Garesché and Salazar chemistry down through the years that has to do with the quality of certainty. Richard Salazar once said, in his father's hearing, "You know, all that genealogical stuff doesn't have a damn thing to do with Alberto running so well." He meant not in the way that José had seemed to present it, which is that God is watching the Salazars, granting prodigious talents and expecting spectacular sacrifice and fidelity in return. But what has gone before must have its effect, perhaps in simply permitting Alberto to grow up seeing the Tightness, the acceptability of following one's own obsession.

"I always had my eye on getting to the top," said Alberto recently. "So I told myself, O.K., you're one of the best in your area, in your age group. All you have to do is keep at it, keep the best, and someday you'll get a world record. But by the time you get there, after all the years of planning and racing and training and learning what you can do—it's realism, by the way, that lets me predict. Sure, sometime I'm going to blow one, but more often than not the connection between racing and training will hold—anyway, after all of that the world record hasn't got the halo around it that it had back in high school. You see these guys like Coe and Ovett you'd thought were superhuman, and then you get a world record, and they're just a couple of guys. We're just people, we just run a little faster. It's kind of depressing, really, when you think about it."

Of course, that is Alberto Salazar's better sense talking, not his pride.



"In Latin culture you defend your pride, your ego," says Salazar, whose pit bull shares parallel traits: "an affectionate veneer over a core of...killer."


Salazar predicted he'd win the 1981 New York Marathon in world-record time, and did, Indoors in 1982 he was No. 1-ranked in the 5,000.


Alberto and Molly both ran for Oregon, and still live in Eugene.


The Salazars wed after the 1981 New York Marathon.


In high school Alberto trained with "horses."


Salazar's ancestor Julius Garesché was the first West Pointer to be killed in the Civil War.