Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story by Stephen F. Balsamo

Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story

Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story

Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story is an inspirational tale that follows the life of a boy named Adamu, from the war-torn republic of South Sudan to the finish line of the New York City marathon. His peaceful existence among friends and family is savagely disrupted in a violent nighttime attack that results in him fleeing to safety like thousands of other lost boys of Sudan. After recovering for months a Kenyan medical camp, Adamu is offered the chance to move to America.

Once he arrives in Oregon he rediscovers his love of running with the help of his new friend and host, William Caldwell. Caldwell is a former collegiate cross-country star, and he quickly recognizes that Adamu has a gift. Caldwell reaches out to his old coach, Paul Bellinger, and the three men soon become close friends.

Before long, Adamu and Caldwell are training to run the New York City marathon. Adamu struggles with depression and memories of his friends and family who are injured or still missing. He grieves the friends and family that he lost, but he finds purpose and happiness when he runs.

After months of training, the three men arrive in New York City. While at the race expo, they meet Dick Traum and learn about Achilles International, a team for people with all types of disabilities who take part in events such as marathons. Adamu is inspired by what he hears, and he secures a patch to his race jersey in support of the team Achilles.

You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens on race day. Those who have run the New York City marathon will really enjoy the authentic course descriptions and race day narrative. In my opinion, the writing is a bit formulaic and stilted until the race begins. But, overall, the story is engaging.

After reading Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story, my perspective has shifted. I am both humbled and inspired by the athletes that overcome physical disabilities to compete in the marathon. I am also moved to think that a small act of generosity or goodwill can mean the world to someone in need.

You can find out more about Achilles International here.

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