While at the Runner’s World Half and Festival, I got to attend a talk/meet and greet with Ironman Matt Long. I don’t know if it’s his confidence or his classic New Yorker accent (seriously, the guy had me at “sneakers” and “burgers”…), but I don’t know how anyone can leave a room with him without having a serious crush.
I’d never heard his story until he told it that evening (maybe because I was in my freshman year of college during his accident or because I was living in Georgia until three months ago), but it was kind of a big deal in the New York City area. These YouTube videos give you a good summary of his story:
After the talk and Q & A session, I bought Matt’s book, The Long Run. As you know from my review on Janet Oberholtzer’s book, Because I Can, I find these types of stories fascinating and inspiring. Matt got run over by a 40,000 pound bus and survived! Not only that, but he recovered better than anyone could have ever imagined. My friend Angela (at Runner in Denial) had surgery on her leg at the end of the summer which threw off her marathon training and messed up her ability to run the New York City Marathon (if it had gone on as planned) and the Walt Disney World Marathon with me. Just recently she ran her first 5K! I’m so in awe of her progress. Even after reading Matt’s book, I can’t imagine what it was like to go from a one percent chance of survival to running a marathon to completing an Ironman. That’s dedication!
The videos above summarize his story well, but Matt’s book gives readers a glimpse into his inner thoughts and struggles post-accident. Recovering from something like this bus accident seems similar to running a marathon (but on a whole other level obviously) – it is both a mental and physical challenge! He definitely “hit the wall” along the way, but he finished strong. The Long Run has snippets of Matt’s life story – everything from fun times with friends and family to examples of his dedication toward reaching his goals (Example: In college he tried out for the basketball team every year and finally got a jersey his senior year.). It’s easy to see how he recovered so well post-accident because he’s always had the drive to work hard and succeed. During his talk, Matt kept repeating “Plan. Commit. Sacrifice.”, but I’d have to add “Dream.” to that motto as well. He openly admits to being a big dreamer (a man after my own heart…) whether it’s chasing girls, playing college basketball, opening a sports bar, or running again. He admits that part of the reason he was in a depression was due to the fact that he stopped dreaming after the accident. Once he made new life goals (running again and then finishing a full marathon), his mindset shifted and he was the old, more positive Matty once again.
|Photo from here.|
One interesting part of the book is that Matt states that he had a better chance of living because he was an athlete – specifically a marathoner/Ironman. A marathon is an intense activity especially for the human heart. Once his doctor found out about this, he increased Matt’s chance of surviving by a few percentage points. Matt’s heart was used to working hard and taking a beating during long runs, which helped him during the crucial/initial hours post-accident. This is another reason to continuously get your fitness on!
While Matt Long is an athlete and runner, I don’t think you necessarily need to have those same passions to enjoy this book. It’s just an uplifting story about family, friends, physical and mental strength, goals, dedication, and hard work. I think everyone can relate to those on some sort of level. Plus, I challenge you to read this book and not develop a crush (Yes – even you, guys!)…
Let me know if you plan to read The Long Run. If you’ve already read it, let other’s know your thoughts in the comments below!
Stay fit and fabulous,