Some months back I wrote an entry here about Matthew Long, a NYC Firefighter and Ironman athlete. In December of 2005, Matt was struck by a bus while riding his bicycle in Manhattan. Matt survived very serious injuries, then trained for and completed the NYC Marathon this past November. There was a very inspirational article in the March issue of Runners World Magazine, which detailed Matt’s determination, focus and incredibly hard work. I read this shortly after completing my first half marathon following my serious bike accident in July of 2008.
I could definitely identify with some of the feelings identified in the article. I could also identify with his desire to prove to himself that he could do these things again, post-accident. Matt’s climb was longer and more difficult than my own though. Because of the injuries he sustained, he needed to train and perform differently than he had before. To be very clear, Matt was a very accomplished athlete, completing the 2005 NYC Marathon in 3:13, and completing Ironman Lake Placid in just over 11 hours prior to his accident. Recasting how you do things that you love can’t be easy. Keeping your mind and heart open to things that are possible, but more difficult than before is a struggle. On my own path, I’ve drawn inspiration from people who refuse to be defined or limited by adversity. And Matt Long is definitely one of these big inspirations.
Matt Long completed Ironman Lake Placid last week, with a time of 16:58 and change. He made the time cutoff by minutes. Watching videos (see below) of his finish is very stirring to me. The audio is blaring, and the angle isn’t great – but I’m sure you get the idea. Watching someone cross the finish line after overcoming so much is transforming, inspiring, and educating.
Matt is founder and president of the I Will Foundation, dedicated to helping people “with the will to work hard, overcome adversity and challenges caused by life altering illness or traumatic injury.
In addition to browsing the videos linked below, please take some time to check out the series of Runners World-produced videos associated with the article. It’s a series of short (less than five minutes each) films about Matt’s training for the 2008 NYC Marathon. Definitely well worth seeing.