Matt DeBole, Elite Runner
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA)
A high school track stand-out and five-time Division I All-American at Georgetown University, Matt DeBole understands the meaning of hard work and dedication. After running his first mile in middle school, Matt followed his passion all the way to the semifinals of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Over the years as an athlete and now a Doctor of Physical Therapy student, he sees the importance of fluid movement – giving him a true appreciation for the Natural Motion principles at ECCO.
Take us back to the beginning. How did you start running?
In middle school, I set the county record for the mile (5:03) the first time I raced that distance. After getting cut from the high school soccer team my freshman year, I joined the cross country team to stay fit. That fall I finished 9th in the North Carolina state championships by running 15:49 for the 5k course, I fell in love with the sport and never looked back.
You’ve raced all over the U.S. and Europe – what’s your favorite place to run?
The honest answer: anywhere with friends. But, if I have to pick a particular spot, I would say Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC. You’re almost guaranteed to see someone you know along those trails at any time of the day. And the paths are fantastic, I’ll run 15 miles and never see pavement. You forget you’re in one of the world’s most powerful cities. Honorable mention would have to be Salem Lake in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Every time I run there, it brings back memories of the hard work I put in during high school. I realize now that the amazing experiences I’ve had along the way all stem from Salem Lake. I like remembering that.
You’re in your third year of physical therapy school at the University of Pittsburgh. How did you decide to follow that career path?
I always wanted to enter the medical field, but it wasn’t until I suffered an injury in college and saw a great physical therapist that I considered it to be a viable career option. The best thing about profession is the relationships you build with patients and seeing them progress. It’s my job to help people get back to doing what they love, whether it’s playing with their grandchildren, hiking the mountains or just living pain free. I feel like I am making a difference in people’s lives – it’s very satisfying.
With your background, what are your thoughts on Natural Motion and BIOM technology?
All of my recent classes focus on how the body is designed for movement – and it’s fascinating. I’ve learned that everyone is an individual with their own body mechanics and there’s not necessarily a “right” or “wrong” way. The development of a shoe that focuses on Natural Motion and allowing the body to move naturally is ideal for activity. I’m excited to be part of this team and help spread the word about BIOM technology!
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done while wearing running shoes?
I jumped on the back of a moving train and hitched a ride for about two miles. It was going six-minute pace. It was awesome!
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