How far can you go? – John MacLean with Mark Tabb

This is a truly remarkable story. John MacLean was a promising athlete until a truck ran over him on the M4 highway in Sydney in 1988. The injuries were so bad that any sort of recovery seemed unthinkable but he pulled through and, over the next several years, learned how to compete in sports such as canoeing and wheel-chair events. His accomplishments were remarkable: iron-man events, triathalons, even swimming the English Channel. But through it all, he held to the goal that he wanted to walk again.
The epilogue to this book attempts to answer the question: was it a miracle that, after 26 years, he was able to walk? He doesn’t think so but maybe that depends on the definition of ‘miracle’ that is used. There didn’t appear to be any physical change to the original injury. Whether it was nerve connections finally awakening from the initial trauma, or whether it was something far more holistic, it does seem apparent that John’s determination to succeed in sport, including endurance events, was somehow responsible. He admits that there is much that he still cannot do but his focus has always been on what he might be able to do. Hence the title of the book, which was taken from a question put to him by his father.
John’s stubborn refusal to give in has carried him a long way. He has become something of a media celebrity and his foundation that helps kids with severe injuries is prospering. Along the way, he has picked up a wife and a son, both of whom have meant more to him that any of his amazing sporting achievements.
This is an easy book to read and very inspirational. Very few people could accomplish what John has accomplished but he obviously hopes that his example can help others reach for the seemingly impossible.