NY Times - November 05, 2010by DAVE UNGRADY
But Long's history in the race relays an incomparable narrative when recounting his effort in the 2008 race. Long finished in 7:21 in a performance that even the world's best can appreciate.
"That's as fast as it gets now these days," he said.
About 10 weeks after he ran his personal best in New York, Long was run over by a bus on Third Avenue while riding his bicycle to work. Long's survival and subsequent struggles to regain his athletic life are detailed in a book, "The Long Run," released in mid-October. Long will be speaking Friday (11 a.m. to noon) and Saturday (noon to 1 p.m.) along with the book's author, Charles Butler, at the New York City Marathon expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
Long says some of his friends, concerned that he wasn't physically ready to cover the 26.2-mile distance, tried to persuade him not to run New York in 2008. But an impatient Long persisted.
"A year is a long time to have something taken from you and say you can never do it ever again," he said. "I waited three years to run again."
As a result of the accident, Long's right leg is an inch shorter than his left, forcing his upper body to teeter as he runs. In the 2008 New York City Marathon, Long ran with a group of friends who included firefighters who could offer little encouragement deep into the marathon.
"At Mile 17 or 18, I said, 'You guys can talk to me all you want, but I'm not going to respond,' " Long said. "The pain is just too much," he said. "I'm doing everything mentally to keep from stopping. Most of the pain is in the left foot. Because of the way I run, I was fatiguing faster. I finished the race almost bent over."
Long says the 2008 New York City Marathon held more meaning to him than the others he ran.
"I knew I had entered an event that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish. It wasn't just for me, but also to show that other people get hurt and that everything is possible."
Long recovered well enough to complete the 2009 Ironman USA Lake Placid in 15:58:03, making the cutoff by less than two minutes. Long had finished the race in 11:18:01 some five months before running the New York City Marathon. He completed the marathon portion in 2009 in 7:30. "Finishing the Ironman was the pinnacle to what I wanted to do to make a comeback," he said.
Long has started the I Will Foundation, which supports those who are trying to recover from a life-altering illness or traumatic injury. He will be supporting the fire department team in the Mayor's Cup this year on the New York City Marathon course and someday hopes to complete another marathon and a triathlon.