Category Archives: Book Reviews

Freedom Run: Book Review

FreedomRun_CoverBFreedom Run is the story of the amazing journey of Jamie Summerlin, a Burnsville, WV native.  He accomplished something that very few people can say they have done . . . he ran across America, a total of 3,452 miles, in 100 days.

There are other people who have completed this brave achievement, but they are definitely few and far between.  There have been a variety of individuals . . . men and women, young and old, white-collar and blue-collar, educated and non-educated, and the differences go on.  Some completed the task in just a few weeks, some took months.  Some have walked; some have run. Some had a crew help them out along the way; some went completely solo depending only on themselves and the kindness of strangers.

There are a variety of routes with some consisting of more and some fewer miles.  Some have traveled east to west; some west to east.  Some have stayed in the southern states, while others have traveled along the colder routes up north.

Regardless of the differences, there are two things every transcontinental traverser has in common . . . their purpose and their passion.  Everyone was compelled to raise money and/or awareness for some worthy cause through their accomplishment.  Whether it was for clean water in Africa, improved childhood health and fitness, cancer research, or a myriad of other worthwhile causes, the intention was always the same . . . build awareness, compassion and empathy for the cause, and increase willingness and selflessness so that people will donate time, energy and money to the cause.

Throughout Jamie’s book, his purpose and passion was the corporate premise that kept reoccurring in every memory he pondered; every personal contact he recalled; every tangible as well as proverbial valley and mountaintop he encountered; every challenge, defeat and triumph he endured; every snake; every watermelon; every naked . . . . uh . . . well, I don’t want to give away too much . . . but I think you get my gist.

The Wounded Warriors Project (WWP) was Jamie’s charitable organization of choice.  Although he and his wife are former US Marines, he still considers past and present military personnel as heroes.  There’s never any doubt as to what motivates him to run an average of nearly 35 miles per day, for 3,452 total miles, over 16 million steps, across 16 states and the District of Columbia in just 100 days with a grand finally of 100 miles in less than 24 hours on the last day.  I suppose his continuous, unrelenting passion burns so fiercely because he’s been there, done that and has the T-shirt.  He knows just how important it is to military personnel for family, friends and every other American citizen to show their support.

summerlinAs a runner, I’m amazed at how someone who had just started running three years prior could accomplish such a feat.  When I first heard about Jamie and his Freedom Run, I presumed he had been running all of his life.  His body’s natural ability to sustain such rigorous, long-distance running makes it obvious this was his divine calling.

But what is so truly inspiring is his persistent, unyielding, exuberant desire to see any and all military personnel . . . marine, soldier or sailor . . . put in the spotlight and appreciated for their sacrifices.  When I met him personally this summer, he asked me to thank my daughter who is currently a sailor serving in the Navy, and he hugged and thanked ME for my sacrifice and continued support as a Military Mom.  It still brings tears to my eyes.

The book is a wonderful read, and written so that any running as well as non-running person could understand the story.  It’s very personal as he includes his wife, kids, parents and in-laws.  A runner will definitely appreciate the whimsical narratives he shares about chaffing, shin splints, alternating running shoes and other running-related challenges.  You will also find yourself cheering him on as he faces adversities, and basking in his moments of  victory.

Although he completed his coast-to-coast run in July 2012, and the book was published in April 2013, he’s still busy with endurance and ultra marathons across the country, and building awareness for military personnel.  Jamie continues to work with WWP, but he’s also partnered with friends to start his own non-profit organizations to assist military personnel.  Check out the projects he is currently involved with in Morgantown, WV at Camo to Cap, Operation Welcome Home and Veterans on Call.  Of course you can keep up with him on Facebook and Twitter as well.

While you’re on Jamie’s website, order the book and read it.  I’m sure you will definitely enjoy it, and you will grow a deeper appreciation of the military personnel that give the ultimate sacrifice for your freedom.  You will also gain a unique perspective of the passion folks like Jamie have and the extent to which they will go to share their purpose with the world.

19 August 2013 … After reading my review, Jamie sent me a message to confirm what he’s up to now and his continued mission … “What a wonderful review. Just an FYI, my full support is now focused on Operation Welcome Home, and no longer fund-raise for the wounded warrior project. My motto, as well as Operation Welcome Home’s, is that I don’t care when you served, where you served, or what branch you served in. You served. And you’ll get the honor and respect you deserve. I refuse to lump veterans into groups. And I move forward to make sure they feel as one…a family.”  Thank you, Jamie for all you do, your passion for your purpose, and your dedication!  Always DREAM BIG!!  🙂