When I was contacted by an organization called Sports and Social Change to review a book I gave it some thought because I wanted to be sure it was something I actually wanted to read. I love reading but cannot be in book clubs because I am very particular about what I read. I've tried book clubs before but I always end up being a drop out. I just think choosing a book is a very personal thing and I was quite happy that when I looked up the book I was being offered to review, it caught my interest. The book they were sending me: The 25,000 Mile Love Story by Serge Roetheli.
The book is the story of Serge and his wife Nicole and the adventures of their journey to run around the world. Serge would run while Nicole would ride alongside him on a motorcycle with a small trailer. They don't have a lot of money for this adventure and choose to camp for the majority of the trip. In order to get funding for their trek, they choose to run to raise awareness for children living in poverty in third world countries.
The book makes you look at the theme of dreams and the will to keep going when there are so many odds stacked against you. In Serge's dream to run the world he and Nicole sacrifice a lot. I can't imagine how hard it was for his children to be away from their father for five years while he was on his trek. Granted, he points out how they came to visit him eight times while he was away and how much he missed them, but I wonder how that actually effected his son and daughter. Sometimes dreams can come at a great cost.
In addition to the sacrifice of leaving their families for so many years, Nicole becomes seriously ill and will probably deal with this illness her entire life. I don't want to give away all of the details on this but it also makes me wonder if she'd do the journey again knowing what she would eventually have to go through.
This book isn't a straight forward tale but more of a mix of stories of their journey's that include the first adventure to run from the tip of South America up to the tip of North America where they finish up in Alaska and the following "Run for Kids" world tour.
I love the way Serge looks at the world and his insights are at times beautiful and at other times quite sad. He's a man who always faced challenges head on and was born with adventure in his blood. The will to never give up is so admirable as he and Nicole traverse the globe.
Serge's dream is more self propelled than purely altruistic but it's admirable all the same. At least he and Nicole chose a reason to run and I think it fueled them on even more than had they done it just to do it. I also think as they saw the actual poverty of people all over the world, it made is that much more special. I think Serge would have run the world regardless, such is the nature of a true adventurer.
It's amazing what the human body can do when the true spirit and will is there. Serge is an ultra runner, a boxer, a mountain guide, and an all around intriguing man. Nicole is a steadfast companion with the intestinal fortitude of a person four times her size. I think a lot can be learned from them both.
I'll leave you with my one of my favorite passages from the book:
"There are moments when you feel ill-equipped. When everyone else's doubt will come down in heavy rains, prying open a slit inside your mind that maybe, just maybe, you weren't cut out for this kind of adventure. And then, someone reaches out and touches you, and just like that you're recharged. The heaviness that seemed so overbearing is now but a splinter. Yes, it is still there, but it is nothing to trifle over. Nothing to keep you from taking the next step."
The book is worth the read and I think it'll be one I'll refer to on days when I want to quit training or throw in the towel.
Available for purchase at Barnes And Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-25000-mile-love-story-serge-and-nicole-roetheli/1110872010
Main website for the book: http://the25000milelovestory.com (There is a documentary that should be coming out to full release shortly. It's currently showing at film festivals.)