Book Review. The Long Run
The Long Run is a book written by Charles Butler about a NYC fireman / fitness enthusiast named Matt Long. Matt was one of the first responders during the World Trade Center attack on 9/11. For a while his parents thought that he and his brother, also a firefighter, might have been missing. He was on of the heroes after 9/11 who stayed day after day and helped search for the missing. He owned a few succesful bars in NYC the most well known is Third and Long. After long nights at the bar, no pun intended, he was an avid runner, cyclist, and swimmer. He considered running his passion. The book begins with him running the NYC Marathon in the annual battle between the NYPD and the NYC Firefighters. He finished 4th among all of the Firefighters and set his new personal record for the marathon. In doing so he also qualified for the Boston Marathon which is an amazing feat. Any recreational runner will tell you how hard that is. Matt Long also ran the Lake Placid IronMan and planned on one day qualifying for The IronMan in Kona, Hawaii.
The book goes into great detail on his upbringing from a large family raised in New York. The author does such a great job painting the picture of Matt as a family man and a firefighter than when his accident happens you really feel for him as if you know him personally. He seems like the kind of guy who you want to have a beer with and just share some stories/
During the NYC Transit strike in 2005 Matt was supposed to meet some buddies for an early morning workout. Because of the strike he has no way to get across town and knew that he would never hear the end of it. So despite it being Winter time he hopped on his bike and headed across town to meet his workout buddies. On his way a city bus made an illegal turn from the wrong lane and without seeing Matt he crashed into his bike. Matt was pinned underneath bleeding profusely with broken bones in his legs, hips, and shoulders. He need almost 70 pints of blood just to keep him alive and the doctors told his family that he had a 5% chance to live and if he did live he would never walk again.
The book then follows his amazing recovery with something like 30 surgeries to follow. The severe bouts of depression that follow and of course the moment almost 3 years later where he finally accepts that he will never be the person he once was. The book even gets into the fact that he wasn’t married and his coming to grips with the fact that he now has serious doubts that he ever would be because of his disability that left him unable to have children.
If the book ended there it would be pretty depressing but the amazing recovery of Matt Long bring him from being completely immobile for almost 3 years to running the NYC Marathon again. It was a roller coaster ride of a book and is a great read for any runner and any person who is suffering from a lack of motivation. If Matt Long can run a marathon after the setbacks that he had than I honestly believe anything is possible. It is a true case of mind over matter. Matt’s mindset that made him a great athlete before his accident as the same determination that made him a Marathon finisher after the accident. This book was a great read for me and I highly recommend it for any weekend warriors like myself.
The Long Run can be found on Amazon.