Posted on May 12, 2015Matt Dahl's Running Story
This month we sat down with the one and only Matt Dahl! Matt just finished up the Boston Marathon. He has had a very successful running career so far. Read his brilliant interview below!
MS: When did you start running?
MD: Summer 2001, freshman year of high school
MS: Where did you run at in college?
MS: What made you want to go to Rider?
MD: Coach Hamer was a key figure in the decision. Before really looking into it, Rider was never a top choice, but the more I spoke with Hamer it became a front runner. He was a coach you couldn't walk away from. And then the enthusiasm a lot of the guys had for the future of the program played a big role too. It really came down to Rider, Manhattan and Monmouth in the end and between the coach and the group of guys I’d get to be teammates with, Rider easily became the choice I had to make.
MS: What do you consider to be your greatest running accomplishment?
MD: Tough one. I hope there’s a great one still in me. But one of the fondest memories I have was junior year at Rider when we finally broke the Top 15 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional meet. It had been the goal since I got there, and the year before we were dead last. Being apart of that team that day after going through a lot of bad meets together made that a special day. I’d say achieving that with that group was great.
MS: Is it true you took some time off running after college?
MD: Yep. About 2 years. I think I hit a point where I had only been on four 20 minute runs over 16 months.
MS: What made you get back into running?
MD: A handful of things. I missed it. I felt like I needed it back in my life too. I remember spending a good portion of 2011 not being happy with how things were going personally, and felt like I needed something to put my focus towards again. Running was the easy choice, so it was time to get to work.
MS: What is your favorite Coach Hamer story?
MD: I was really struggling to put together a big race during my sophomore year and he really committed to get me to run a fast 800 leg on the team’s DMR at the end of the indoor season. I had kept running so terribly I didn’t believe him. DMR for IC4A’s finally comes around and I think I got the baton in 4th. I remember seeing the clock and kept trying to do the math in my head, at this point I had never run faster than 1:56. I remember just sliding up and hanging on the entire leg, and all 4 teams handed off at the same time. I looked at the clock and thought “wait, did I just break 1:55? ..no way.” I walked over to Hamer, looked at him writing down the splits on his note pad and it said “1:53”. I was a bit stunned and said to him “is that my split…?” He looked up and said “that’s your f---ing split”. Sorry if you have to clean that one up.
MS: What is your goal moving forward in your running career?
MD: Long term, I’d like to end up going sub-2:30 in the marathon. I think it’s in these legs, just have a lot of work to do in order to get there. Short term? Not certain yet, but I’ve got some big races lined up this fall and hope for some faster times. Next spring I’d like to get back on the track and see if I can ever break 15 again in the 5k.
MS: Congratulations on an awesome performance at Boston! How did you feel about the race?
MD: Thanks man. I was pretty happy. For months I was just thinking about running a 2:37 marathon. It was that time that really kept driving me through the cold winter, so I was pretty pumped to hit the race the way I wanted. I had my plan, stuck to it, and the right results came with it.
MS: Describe your emotions post-race at Boston?
MD: It was a great feeling. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself in college, and was almost never satisfied after a race. But Boston was a day where I felt like I really hit it and felt proud of my accomplishment. I definitely did tear up a bit too after crossing the line and knowing I just ran 2:37… I remember thinking about my Grandfather, I run with his initials on my shoes. He would have been proud of that one. It was such an emotional race with the crowds, the effort… everything. It was great experience, probably my proudest running experience.
MS: Does it seem a little surreal that you ran sub 2:40 at the Boston Marathon?
MD: Yes and no. No only because I really believed in myself and ability to do so. Yes in regards to it was yet another marathon I had to face dreadful conditions, but I’m glad it didn’t throw me off. I’ll admit there was a surreal feeling in me after crossing the finish line just because 4 years ago around this time I was my furthest removed from running ever, and then I just finished the Boston Marathon.
MS: Who has had the biggest impact on your running career?
MD: Probably my high school coach, Dan Formato. He really believed in me from the start, and even though it took a long time to teach me the sport and build me as a runner, he stuck with me from the start. I don’t think I’d have the passion I have for it now if he wasn’t the one introducing me to it all those years ago.
MS: What’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone who is either graduating high school or college that is hoping to someday run a marathon?
MD: Be patient! If you’re a distance runner, then yes, you can almost definitely run a marathon. But if you’re ever going to do one, do it in the right way. Take your time to build your training up, spend time learning the race, and even get yourself a coach. You spend hours out there, and many miles alone, all to just get to one race. It’s a draining experience, but I’ll say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I really feel everyone should give it a try, but make a serious commitment about it. It will control your life in a lot of ways and is probably far different than anything you've taken on before.
MS: Favorite pre-race meal?
MD: Pizza! Always my go to meal!
MS: Best Mike Soroko story?
MD: Man, too many for rapid fire. I’ll choose a dumb one. My junior year when none of us were running well in the spring, me, him and Christian would spend our Saturday nights at the SRC playing Wii or shooting hoops. One night we were there kind of late just goofing around and joking about playing the Dancing with the Stars Wii game. He randomly said “get a few shots in me and then I’ll play Dancing with the Stars”. I can confirm none of us took any shots though, and we still have never played Dancing with the Stars.
MS: You trapped on a deserted island. You are only able to pursue running or radio. What do you choose?
MD: Ha! Very easily the answer to this is running. If the options were running or the WWE, then we may have more of a debate...
MS: Fastest mile before college?
MS: Favorite dessert?
MD: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
MS: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Keep up the great work!