"I can't think of many books I've read that have shed more light or offered more inspiration on how to take on the challenges we are faced with than Do Tough"

- Thomas Hill

What Race Across America and my sister's brain cancer taught me about endurance and how to do hard things.

When she was nine years old, her gym teacher gave a fitting nickname to a slow and uncoordinated little girl: jelly bean. In this candid and uplifting memoir, ultra athlete Maria Parker chronicles her swanlike transformation from unathletic jelly bean to elite endurance cyclist. Parker also examines the connection between the unchosen suffering of losing her sister and best friend, Jenny, to brain cancer and the chosen suffering of taking on an extreme athletic event.

What Race Across America and my Sister's Brain Cancer Taught me about Endurance and How to Do Hard TWhat Race Across America and my Sister's Brain Cancer Taught me about Endurance and How to Do Hard T
Do Tough is the #1 New Release in CyclingDo Tough is the #1 New Release in Cycling
"A fast-paced mash-up of memoir and self-help, this book beautifully captures my mom’s experience of RAAM and my aunt’s illness. Within this story, find love and suffering. Through it, learn how to better suffer, and how to better love."

- Will Parker, MD

"Do Tough is not only a heartfelt story of love, loss, and human capacity, but it is also a resource for handling the wide spectrum of adversity life can throw at us. Maria Parker provides vulnerable and detailed accounts of her personal loss with highly effective lessons of how one can also “do tough” along their life’s journey. I encourage anyone looking for an uplifting and relatable perspective on achieving or overcoming the extraordinary to give this a read!"

Steve Mellor author and host of Career Competitor

Do Tough is the heart-pumping story of Maria Parker's unlikely win of the 2013 Race Across America

What sets Do Tough apart is the way Parker intertwines the themes of hope, resilience, and perseverance with the story of Jenny's illness and the epic race. The result is a book that is both encouraging and resonant, offering readers a message of hope and a roadmap for dealing with the challenges that life can throw our way. You'll find:

Hi, I'm Maria Parker

Author, athlete, Cruzbike CEO, and advocate for brain cancer research. To each of these I strive to bring Do Tough skills I’ve learned from chosen and unchosen challenges in my life and others.

Since coming to sports as a mother of young children, I’ve embraced an identity as an athlete and have clawed up walls of discomfort in marathons and ultra-endurance cycling events learning to find out what happens when, as a friend once said, “I came to the end of myself.”

Like most people, however, the tougher experiences I’ve endured have come in the form of personal loss and heartaches. And then there are the myriad in-between inconveniences, difficulties, challenges and troubles that have peppered even my relatively smooth life.

As I’ve studied my athletic performances, I’ve seen that the skills I’ve deployed in the 20th hour of a 24 hour cycling event, can also be applied to my role as CEO of Cruzbike, fundraiser for brain cancer research and anything in everyday life that can seem arduous. Further, when friends and family have “Done Tough,” I’ve frequently seen them wield some of the same strategies.

Now I’m taking on a new role as an author so that I can tell the story of one of my most anguishing personal challenges, my sister’s brain cancer, and my most grueling athletic challenge, Race Across America. In those stories and others I hope to convey what I’ve observed and learned.

It is in my capacity as wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend and Christian that I have been cherished and encouraged to grow, learn and pass on what I have been given.


This film was released before Jenny died. If you love Do Tough, you will love this documentary about hope and my 2013 Race Across America. Click here for the two minute trailer.

Maria Parker talks Do Tough on Champion's Mojo PodcastMaria Parker talks Do Tough on Champion's Mojo Podcast
Can you DO TOUGH? Maria Parker's New Book DO TOUGH Hits #1 on Amazon


June 13, 2023 | Champion's Mojo Podcast Episode 212

More Maria

Projects that matter to me:

3000 Miles to a Cure

My sister's diagnosis has made me aware of the desperate need for research funds for brain cancer. 3000 Miles to a Cure started with my Race Across America and continues today. LEARN MORE

Do Tough

One of my greatest desires is to encourage. I hope this book encourages you. 100% of proceeds go to 3000 Miles to a Cure. ORDER ON AMAZON


This is the best recumbent road bike and the best thing that ever happened to cycling. LEARN MORE

Champion's Mojo Podcast

We talk with champions, coaches and experts about topics that are interesting and important to masters athletes. LEARN MORE