Iron Will: Inspired By Matt Long

In the winter of 2005, while riding his bike to work on the streets of Manhattan, Matt Long was struck by a bus and critically injured .  He received 68 units of blood in the first
40 hours following the accident and spent 5 months in the hospital.  After his accident, Matt was given only a 1% chance to live.  He then had to learn how to walk again, underwent 40 surgeries and suffered from severe depression.

During his recovery, Matt had a realization.  It was time to stop saying I hope and I wish, and start saying I will.  That mantra helped him overcome numerous challenges in his recovery.

Matt attributes surviving this horrific accident to his high level of fitness and determination as an active runner and Ironman triathlete.  But simply recovering wasn’t enough for Matt.  He wanted to do more.  He wanted swim, bike and run the 140.6 miles of an Ironman race once again.

Four years after his accident, I had the opportunity to meet Matt at the 2009 Ironman Lake Placid.  I was honored to be racing alongside him.  Matt’s finish of that race was one of the most exciting Ironman finishes in history.  The video below will give you a taste of what it was like.

I’m writing this post on the eve of my third Ironman race in Lake Placid.  Tomorrow morning at 7am I will begin my 140.6 mile swim, bike and run alongside other inspiring people from all walks of life.  Some will be professional triathletes, but most will be everyday people who have overcome their day-to-day challenges in life to arrive at the start line of this Ironman.  And all are inspiring in their own way.

Matt will not be racing with us this year, but he was at an athlete’s dinner last night to share some inspiring words with us.  And it’s not just Matt’s Ironman story that’s inspiring.  It’s also what he has chosen to do beyond Ironman.  Matt has created the I Will Foundation to help people, with the will to work hard, overcome adversity and challenges caused by life altering illness or traumatic injury.

I encourage you to visit the I Will website and to read Matt’s book, “The Long Run”.  I am sure you will find inspiration to help you overcome challenges in your life and be an inspiration to others.




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  1. Angela Koskie |

    Congratulations on your IM Jason! Crossing the finish line as a new ‘Dad’ is a great accomplishment!

  2. Jason Billows |

    Angela, thanks so much. It was my most difficult and slowest IM race to date (13h58m), but also my most rewarding. Thanks for reading.

  3. Jane A. Smith |

    I hope this finds Matt Long, sd I usually do not post comments on web sites. I Just finished reading his book, The Long Run, and yes, I am truly inspired with it. I recently had a severe motorcycle accident and suffered a major head injury of which I am still working on fighting my way back to my prior life, whish is why this book was truly special to read for me…that and I am also one of 9 children, and could truly relate to so many of the things he wrote about as far as during his recovery and the people that helped in, etc. I want to thank him for sharing his personal experiences and to let him know that he truly has helped me with my fight back as well!! Thanks you and congratulations Ironman!!! Jane A. Smith, Florida.

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