Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter's Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete
Matt Long with Charles Butler

rating: 8.5 out of 10 "books"

The Long Run tells the story of happy-go-lucky New York City firefighter, Matt Long. Surrounded by a large loving family, plenty of friends, a fulfilling job, prosperous businesses, and an addiction to running after years of an unhealthy lifestyle (that’s put him in the best shape of his life!), life couldn’t get much better. And while he’s endured his fair share of pain before; running the New York City Marathon and qualifying for the prestigious Boston Marathon, saving lives during the heartbreaking events of 9/11, and competing in an eleven hour Ironman competition, nothing could compare to the events that unraveled one fateful morning and changed his life forever.

Just after qualifying for the Boston Marathon during the New York City transit strike of 2005, Long was struck down by a bus while trying to bike out to meet up with some friends to train. Given only a five percent chance of survival, Matt survived severe wounds, broken bones, and endured multiple operations. The Long Run chronicles Matt’s long road to recovery and his determination to run again despite slim odds of rehabilitation.

Oftentimes, we don’t realize how much we take for granted until it’s suddenly taken away from us. I know I’m definitely that way. Maybe it’s just because I’m a runner, but this story definitely struck a chord. The way Long describes the events surrounding his accident, from his vivid description of what happened (when emergency crew discovered him they couldn’t tell where his body ended and his bike started because the bike had actually gone straight through his abdomen), to what he was told was going on while he was unconscious in the hospital (family and friends camped out night and day to be there for any sign of good news), to his recovery (major obstacles threatened to hinder his chances of ever running again), I couldn’t help but tearing up over and over again. The story includes not only what happened that fateful day and onward, but also provides many flashbacks to background information that further explains how Matt’s attitudes and views on life came to be. If you’re a big athlete (and even if you’re not), I’d definitely recommend reading this book!

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