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What: “Going the Distance.”
Authors: George Thomas and Jeff Welsch.
Publisher: Sports Publishing, L.L.C.
List Price: $24.95.
“Going the Distance: The George Thomas Story” probably will never receive the same notice as Lance Armstrong’s book, “It’s Not About the Bike.” That’s a shame, because both Texas natives represent the power of human perseverance.
Whereas Armstrong triumphed over testicular cancer to win the 2,275-mile Tour de France in 1999, Thomas overcame epilepsy and a near-fatal car accident to finish the 1995 Race Across America (RAAM), a 2,911-mile, nonstop bicycle race from Irvine to Savannah, Ga.
Thomas, who slept only a couple hours a night and dealt with hallucinations to his top-10 finish, compares the RAAM to everyday obstacles.
“Whether it’s epilepsy, leukemia, or [working at] a job you don’t like, it’s all the same,” says Thomas, a longtime distance runner and cyclist who now lives in Oregon. “It sounds corny, but life is about going the distance. The way you pattern your life each day is so important.”
In 1984, while standing in a friend’s front yard in his hometown of San Antonio, Thomas was hit by a drunk driver, “nearly killing me and forever leaving me with a neurological disorder called epilepsy.”
With the help of Jeff Welsch, a sportswriter for the Corvallis (Ore.) Gazette-Times, Thomas, now 38, describes his 10 1/2 days during the 1995 race.