From Crash Victim To Elite Athlete: A NYC Firefighter’s Long Run to Wholeness


“I’m not a challenged athlete, I’m an athlete with challenges…there’s a big difference.”

Matt Long


In 2005, New York City firefighter, avid marathoner and ironman athlete Matt Long hopped onto his bike to do what he did every day — ride from his East side Manhattan apartment north to the Randall’s Island fire academy where he helped train the city’s bravest. As he crossed 52nd Street, a 20-ton bus made a right turn from the middle lane. The bus didn’t just hit him, it dragged his body completely underneath, where Matt was then quite literally impaled by his bike.

After receiving 68 units of blood in the first 40 hours post-accident, Matt spent the next month in a coma.

When he woke up, the doctors told him he was facing a one percent chance of survival.

Matt had other plans.

After a 5-month hospital stint and 40 surgeries in under two years, he did more than survive. He finally came alive.

The story of Matt’s accident and his comeback quest to tackle the 2008 NYC marathon just 3 years after his accident was first chronicled in an extraordinary story in Runner’s World  by Charles Butler entitled A Second Life. That story was later adapted and expanded into Matt’s exceptionally inspiring memoir, The Long Run* , a work of co-authorship by Long and Butler (not to be confused with my buddy and RRP favorite Mishka Shubaly’s equally compelling Kindle Single, also entitled The Long Run*).

Today Matt will tell you not only does he not regret the accident, it is the one thing that has made him whole.

There are many words that can be used to describe Matt — firefighter, 9/11 first responder, ironman athlete, accomplished marathoner, advocate, bon vivant, husband and father. But one word will suffice: hero.

Matt is a man I hold in high regard as an incredible example of the resiliency not just of the physical body, but of the emotional body — the indomitable, boundless strength of the human spirit in selfless service to others.

Great guy. Great talk.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.

Peace + Plants,

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Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson. Thanks boys!

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

SHOW NOTES

Connect with Matt Long: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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