Champion marathon runner Dick Beardsley will speak at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at Alexandria Technical and Community College's 743 Auditorium in advance of the Sept. 21 Matt Kjelland Memorial 5K.

Beardsley, a Minnesota native, tied for first place in the 1981 London Marathon and nearly won the 1982 Boston Marathon. A series of near-fatal accidents led to an addiction to prescription drugs. Later, he lost his only child, a son, to suicide. Now a motivational speaker, he also authored an international best-selling autobiography, "Staying the Course, A Runners Toughest Race."

According to his website, Beardsley has spoken to countless number of groups all over the world, ranging in size from 5 people to 15,000 people.

The Matt Kjelland Memorial 5K is a community event created in memory of Matt Kjelland, as well as a fundraiser for suicide prevention. It takes place at Alexandria City Park each year. Beardsley's talk is free and open to the public.