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TRL Member Spotlight – Matt Book


1. How long have you been running and why did you start running? I started running in 2004 when I was in the 8th grade. My older brother began running cross country for the local high school and I always wanted to do whatever my brother was interested in, so I decided to join a junior-high team and I grew with the sport from there.

2. How long have you been part of TRL, and what drew you to the club in the first place? I have been part of TRL for exactly one year now. My wife and I moved to Portland in May of 2021, and I was interested in finding a group of competitive runners to train with. After a little bit of internet searching, I found the Lizards and reached out. TRL has been very welcoming, and it was easy to find the group of runners I was looking for after a few weeks of showing up to group runs/workouts.

3. What do you do when you’re not running (job, family, school…whatever it is you’d use to introduce yourself outside of running)? Outside of running my life revolves around my wife, my two dogs, and food. My wife and I love exploring the Portland food scene and we also enjoy cooking elaborate meals at home for our friends. A few of the Lizards have been lucky enough to join us for our monthly meals we host where we cook a meal from a different country every month!

4. What’s your favorite distance/type of run (5K, half-marathon, marathon, ultras, relays, track, trail, etc.)? The marathon has recently become my favorite distance. I enjoy being committed to the long training cycle, which pays dividends come race day. I also appreciate the level of strategy that goes into both planning for the race and adjusting as need be during the competition.

5. Where is your favorite place to run in the greater Portland area? Easy. Forest Park. I had spent my whole life running city sidewalks in Ohio before moving to Oregon. The accessibility of Forest Park is something I will never take for granted.

6. What’s your most memorable running experience (or experiences)? In college my team went to the Hawaii-Pacific Invitational, and we ran at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu where Jurassic Park and many other movies were filmed. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to run a race in that setting.

7. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? “No sense in beating a dead horse”. The first time this statement was directed at me I’d argue it wasn’t really advice, but I have found a lot of value in the saying over the years. Some days your body is simply worn out and forcing yourself to do the entire workout on your training plan is not the right thing to do. It took me years to accept this, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to rest when I need to and not push myself when my body doesn’t have anything left to give.

8. Tell us one fun fact, hidden talent, or something we don’t know about you, but should? I worked at a small luxury hotel for 6 years and interacted with many celebrities during that time. A few of the people I met included George Clooney, Lady Gaga, Martha Stewart, Gene Simmons, Lil Wayne, One Direction, Hank Aaron, Jerry Seinfeld, and many others. Ask me for stories because I have plenty!

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