Marathon: Salazar's Back (With A Smile)

Outside magazine, September 1994

Marathon: Salazar's Back (With A Smile)
By Todd Balf (with Martin Dugard and John Alderman)

In the long, strange trip that is Alberto Salazar's life, another chapter: Mired in the proverbial road-race desert for 12 winless years, the former victor in both the Boston and New York marathons finally took a major in June, winning the 54-mile Comrades Mar-athon in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, in five hours, 38 minutes, and 39 seconds. The 36-year-old Salazar, a sort of poster boy in recent years for the grim effects of overtraining, chalked up the victory to determination, smart workouts, and Prozac. According to his physician, the runner began taking the drug last August to offset depressionlike symptoms such as chronic fatigue and listlessness. Too much training, some doctors theorize, can trigger deleterious hormonal changes in the brain. While the definitive study of Prozac and burned-out athletes remains in the offing, the marathoner whistles away on yet another comeback with more field tests of the antidepressant planned for later this year. Can we expect a testimonial commercial? "I used to be tired, run-down, and sick all the time," says a happier Salazar. "With the Prozac my general health is better, and my running has picked up as well."

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