Sunday, March 27, 2011

the long run - a book report

camp jeni is now in training lock down and there will be no further updates on busselton 70.3 until THE day.   but i did promise a report on the books i purchased from http://www.betterworldbooks.com/.  firstly they arrived within 10 days and i cannot tell which are the used books.  excellent service, price and products.

i first heard of matt long when i was slothing on the sofa one saturday afternoon channel surfing foxtel and came across a program on ironman lake placid.  within these programs they always have a focus section on competitors with a story to tell.  this one was about matt long.  he is a new york firefighter who lived though 9/11, had finished ironman lake placid a few years before in 11 hours and had qualified for the boston marathon by running a 3.15 in the new york marathon.  he qualified for boston the week before he got on his bike to ride to work because the city transport workers were on strike. 

on the way to work matt was hit by a bus.  he was virtually impaled by his bikes seat post and suffered horrific internal injuries.  it was a miracle that he survived.  in the book he tells you just enough about his injuries for you to realise how bad it was without it becoming the focus.  aside from his internal injuries his left leg was badly damaged along with his shoulder.  being fit and able to run marathons and compete in triathlons defined who matt was as well as being a fireman.  that was his life and who he was.  and it goes without saying that matt's fitness level played a very big part in his ability to survive the initial trauma.

watching the show on foxtel i had a good boo hoo cry as matt long beat the odds and once again became an ironman.  this time it took 16 hours and 58 minutes but he was still an ironman.  the book was written with the help of a ghost writer and one of the main themes that stood out was the extraordinary support that matt had from his family, friends and the n.y. fire department.  this played a huge part in his recovery and i think help matt realise that there was more that defined him than just his ability to swim, bike and run.  i guess it is also a reminder to enjoy the moment because it may not always be there and life can change in an instant. 

matt has a foundation called 'i will' based on his approach to the challenge he faced in being able to do what he loved.  i cannot remember who won the event but i have never been able to get matt long's story out of my head. 


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