I don’t know if you’re like me, but running a quarter mile is going get me out of breath, and rather quickly. . .Now imagine something: envision yourself running not a quarter mile, not one mile, not even a 10K or a marathon. I’m talking ultramarathon. That means something really, really long–something most of us could never contemplate, let alone do.
In the case of Greg Brooks, that was a weekly occurrence, for years! Greg’s ultramarathons were each 100 miles in length and 22-24 hours in duration! And he was a national champion, often placing first. Call him a maniac! Yet he’s a real guy, down-to-earth, and most importantly, a Christian and a winner in Christ.
Greg has led an interesting life. Now 73, he grew up in the Sixties and Seventies. A former drug and alcohol abuser wandering without knowing the Lord, Greg had an amazing conversion experience that led him to clean up his act and follow Christ. From there, he became a corporate engineer cleaning up the environment around him to ensure the wellbeing of hundreds of employees at the world-famous Kodak Corporation.
Greg continued to run, race, win awards, coach, and design and direct marathons, all while doing his important job, being active and taking leadership roles in his church, raising three kids with his wife of fifty-one years, and so much more.
The book also chronicles Greg’s struggles not only with substance abuse but with the need to reinvent himself after the demise of Kodak. Then when he was in his fifties, he suffered two debilitating heart attacks. Determined not to lose his prodigious athletic ability completely, Greg ventured on a quest to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and that forms the center of his book. Atop that stunning mountain, he learned several things about himself, life, and us. Then he went on safari and did a life-changing African marathon. His epiphanies there are astounding!
Greg’s health further deteriorated, though, and he experienced a stroke. Unable to walk, let alone run, Greg took the steep climb of physical therapy. Today he is able, with Christ’s help, to walk, and he is an articulate speaker who loves to talk about his journey and how you can apply it to your life. Greg operates a non-profit woodshop in his hometown of Rochester which makes caskets by and for the homeless.
As Greg says, “You don’t have to walk this life in crippling fear…run the race, make the climb. It’s never too late to change things around.”
This book would make a great read for anyone who enjoys memoir, is a Christian, or a runner, coach, or Christian servant. It speaks to the hard issues of addiction, depression, failure, old age, and death, and in an open and honest way. But it also speaks to victory, forgiveness, and resilience! Do you know someone who could use his message? On those long, lonely roads of the soul’s experience, Greg persevered, and so can everyone who believes.
The book, BROOKS RUNNING, is for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles and comes out August 16. You can pre-order now at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/brooks-running-greg-brooks/1139655509 (B&N) or https://www.amazon.com/Brooks-Running-Memoir-Greg/dp/1637460708 (Amazon). Inquiries can be sent to Heather Beck, co-author, at [email protected] or directly to Greg, the runner himself, at [email protected].