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May 3rd, 2012
06:32 AM ET

Struck by bus, former firefighter gets back in fighting form

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, CNN profiles survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. This week we meet Matt Long, who was riding a bike through New York City in December 2005 when he was hit by a bus. Long nearly died and underwent more than 40 operations. A self-described "fitness junkie," Long eventually triumphed three years later by racing in the New York City Marathon. 

I get asked quite often where I find my motivation. This past Monday, I had the pleasure of being invited to speak to the Mullica Hill Triathlon Club in Mullica Hill, New Jersey.  It’s meeting people like them that I use for my own inspiration.

The room was at full capacity - 200+ female triathletes of different abilities, all out there for the love of the sport. I can’t tell you when I've had a better audience.

Each member was racing or training for individual reasons, some finding more success than others, and some battling with their own adversity. At the same time they all had the same desire to push themselves to be better triathletes or even just healthier people.

When I speak to groups about what I went through and how I was able to overcome such odds, I always talk about how lucky I was to have such a tremendous support group: My family, my fellow FDNY members, and my Asphalt Green tri club. It was these people who kept me from giving up. They kept me from quitting the same way the ladies of the MHWTC keep each other motivated.

After the more formal talk, we spent time at the bar telling racing stories and sharing training advice. And for the night I forgot that I had ever been in an accident.

I couldn't wait to get home, jump in the pool or on the bike, or, better yet, sign up for another Ironman at Lake Placid. My dreams of one day running the Boston Marathon are bigger now because of the energy in that room.

As for now, I'm back in the saddle and anxiously waiting my road racing debut for the 2012 season on May 12 at the I Will/CRCA CRIT  race in Orchard Beach, New York.

This week's motivation comes form the hard-working, hard training ladies of MHWTC.

LONG MAY YOU RUN, GIRLS! See you on the road!


soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Laurence Marcille

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    June 18, 2021 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Ladonna Rawdon

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    June 21, 2021 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.