Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story

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9780615837390: Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story

Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story is an inspirational story about the strength of the human spirit---and the hope and possibility that running the distance can provide. 

Nineteen-year-old, Adamu is living an innocent and peaceful life in his village in Southern Sudan when it is violently attacked and he is forced to find safe haven at a refugee camp in Kenya.  At the camp, he meets Kirabo, a nine-year-old refugee who recently had his leg amputated, and they form a deep friendship.  When Adamu is offered the chance to be placed with a family in the United States, he is reluctant to leave Kirabo, but the boy persuades him to take advantage of his opportunity.

When Adamu, still physically and emotionally scarred, is placed in the loving home of William and Christina Caldwell, a middle-aged couple in Oregon, he is having a difficult time adjusting to his new surroundings. After he learns that Adamu loved to run in Sudan, an out of shape William, laces up a pair of running sneakers for the first time since his college track team days decades earlier and takes Adamu running.

When William agrees to try to run The New York City Marathon with Adamu, he convinces his old college coach, a lonely widower, to train them. Together, the three embark on an emotional and inspirational journey---which ultimately provides Adamu with the opportunity to help his little friend Kirabo in Africa. 

Afterword Written By Marathon Legend, Dick Traum.

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Review:

Review posted on marathonandbeyond.com:"Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story" is not so much a tale just for runners but for those who embrace and are uplifted by tales of courage and the overcoming of obstacles physical and emotional."  ---Wayne Buckley

Portion of Author interview with Wendy Rivard of takinglongwayhome.com:Q:  What are some of the messages of the book that you are trying to convey?A:   Beyond hoping to pay homage to the plight of the Lost Boys of Sudan in a respectful way and trying to spread the message of Achilles, I hope to convey the value of perseverance in tough times or when trying to achieve a goal.  Along with that, I hope the story conveys the message that taking some type of constructive action towards reaching that goal or resolving a tough situation (and associating with good people) can lead to positive developments.  The main characters in the book all faced obstacles along the way, but they continued their journey despite their losses, pain, or lack of motivation and came together as a team.  Their perseverance and collaborative efforts allowed them to accomplish something together---but even more importantly allowed them to improve and enrich their respective lives. In the story, I have the character who coaches Adamu tell him that "perseverance in times of weakness can lead to strength." I think it is a true statement and one of the main messages of the story.  Invariably, we will all face obstacles in running and in life, but if we persevere, and if we are fortunate to be surrounded by good people, it will lead to strength and good things.I also hope that I was able to convey that running is a positive, constructive, and healthy activity that can serve to enrich a person's life in a very unique way---well beyond the pride of earning a medal in a race.

"Canadian Running" magazine's review as posted on runningmagazine.ca:"A touching edition to the growing genre of inspirational running books...Balsamo's heart-warming story shines through in this novel of healing and friendship...New runners will sprint through Marathon Journey's fast-moving plot and find motivation..."  ---Caela Fenton

Review from "Run Oregon" from "Run Oregon" on Facebook and "runoregonblog.com":  "Marathon Journey: An Achilles Story, while fictional, has many of the same themes that its non-fictional [running book] counterparts rely on - just from a different angle. It is motivating, highlights overcoming barriers - both mental and physical - and showcases the positive and uplifting side of running.  The book was an easy read, the plot had the pace of Joe Dudman at a 5k (i.e. fast), and I really enjoyed the unique story. It had a good fusing of serious and laughter, and with the story occurring significantly within our local setting, I found it an extremely satisfying read. I recommend Marathon Journey for those looking for something more casual than your typical running book." ---Matt Rasmussen

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