Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Interview with Adirondacks Marathon Champion, Matt Cheney

Hey everyone at long last I got around to talking with/about another runner here on the blog! 
I got a hold of recent Adirondacks Marathon winner, Matt Cheney. I find him to be a fascinating runner! Here's a Q and A we did! Enjoy the read!
The winner, Matt Cheney! His prize, a hand carved wooden bear!

Anis: Matt, as mentioned, we hear you won a marathon; but first, where did you grow up? Who is Matt Cheney?

Matt: I grew up in Beaver Falls, NY located a few minutes west of the beautiful Adirondack Park and about an hour south of the Canadian border. I come from the most supportive and loving family imaginable. I ran cross country and track in high school for Beaver River. I then went to college at Cedarville University where I received my degree in Geology and continued running. I currently live in Princeton, NJ with my amazing wife, Rachel. She is getting her Master's degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. I work at Princeton Running Company.
Matt and Rachel post race with Matt's time still on the clock, a blazing 2:32:06 on a tough rolling course!

Anis: Who or what led you into competitive running?

Matt: I began running when I was 7 years old. My Dad and I trained and raced together in local road races. It was during these times I found I had some natural ability and fell in love with the sport. My Dad encouraged me to run a specific race in 6th grade to see how I stacked up against some other kids my age from surrounding towns. The seed of running to win was planted after I crossed the finish line in 1st place that day.

Anis: I know you ran in college, through those years did you think you would go into marathons later?

Matt: There were a lot of trials for me in college, running-wise. I had difficulty with food, body image, injury, and disease within my family. Through it all, I trusted God and His plan for my life. I knew I had the work ethic to be a good runner. I suppose I just didn't know how to tie running into every other area of my life in a healthy, sustainable way. I did know that I longed to be out in nature for extended periods of time so the increased distances came naturally for me. 26.2 miles is a great distance to race. You learn important traits about yourself through a powerful medium such as a marathon.

 Anis: Is your training similar or different to your collegiate training methods? How so?

Matt: Thanks to my coach, wedding officiant, and long-time friend, Will, my training methods have become what some would consider, unconventional. It fits my personality absolutely perfectly. I have been vegan for well over a year now, which I see as part of my training. Also, we incorporate many taxing, long-distance sessions over the course of a build-up for a race. This is quite different from college where we would do the same workouts week after week and have many recovery days each week. Short answer: It is extremely different.

Just running up a Mountain, no big deal. Matt trains like a real man!

Anis: If you could be any animal with super powers, what animal and what super Power?

Matt: Falcon with Atmokinesis (control of the weather)

Anis: That would be incredible! Tell me, why is running important to you?

Matt:  Running gives me purpose, peace, autonomy, time to play, a chance to see the world around me, a sense of God's presence. Running cuts through everything else going on in my life. When I am moving quickly over the earth, it simplifies life and eliminates what is not important.

 Anis: In regard to runners and coaches , who do you look up to?

Mattt: I look up to my current coach, Will. He has taught me to never lock an idea or method into my mind. It is important to always evolve and treat your body like an experiment to see what works and what you can learn. Each body is unique and responds to training methods in different ways. Find what works for you. In regard to athletes, Brendan Brazier, Scott Jurek, and Kilian Jornet. Brazier's book Thrive transformed both my life and my running. I still use many vegan recipes from his book to this day. Jurek has a powerful life story that really speaks to me, he's a legend in trail running, and he's also plant-based. I enjoy Kilian's love and fervor for the world around him. He is like a little kid on the playground when running up a mountain. It is a joy to watch.

Anis: Where you live these days, what is your favorite loop or trail system?

Matt: Sourland Mountain Preserve. Rocks, hills, and geese. What's not to love?

Anis: The readers should know you enjoy a good laugh, what is your favorite Comedic film?

Matt: The Princess Bride

Anis: Inconeivable! I know you are a faithful man, can you tell us if this guides your running and life equally?

Matt: My faith in God certainly guides my running. I believe I have been given this running ability for a reason. This life is not about me. I long to use my running to share the Gospel and help individuals in need around the globe. At this point, I don't know how that will occur, but I trust God's plan and timing. It is important to see the world through God's eyes in difficult times like these. I was very moved by Kilian Jornet's plan to help the Nepalese after the devastating landslides and flash floods a few years ago. I believe running should be about giving back.

 Anis: Do you have a life goal for running?

Matt: I have many life goals for running including races, course records, and FKTs. I look forward to racing the Boston Marathon, Western States 100, and Olympic Trials among others. However, my main goal in running has already been mentioned. I want to help people in need around the globe in whatever capacity I can.

Anis: Do you think Pheidippides took walk breaks on his run to Athens from the plain of Marathon?

Matt- Pheidippides actually ran from Athens to Sparta (250 km), which is a much more impressive feat of endurance. The Spartathlon commemorates this epic journey every year. And I'm sure he, as well as every runner each year, takes walk breaks!

Anis: What is the Marathon you most want to compete in while you are on the way up the ranks?

Matt: The Boston Marathon!

Anis: I heard you are starting a coaching business, can you please tell us about that?

Matt: It is called TerraMotus Endurance Coaching. You can find me at I really want to help individuals realize their potential. We are all capable of much more than what we ask of ourselves. I want people to see that in some small way through running. I have a number of different plans to choose from. If you ever wish to talk about running or ask questions about an upcoming race, adventure, etc. feel free to email me at

So there ya' have it folks! That's Matt Cheney, what a guy!!! He's a unique runner, glad to say I know the guy. Reach out to Matt if you need a coach, if I were you I would do it!