My name is Mike Matter and I am a 47 year old OCR enthusiast. My life course into this wonderful and crazy racing life starts quite a few years ago (a lifetime ago for many of you current racers). I lived in a small valley in Upper Dauphin County in Pennsylvania and had quite an active life for those early years. I would play basketball all day long at the local park, take long bike rides around the valley with my friends, and even play late night tag throughout the neighborhood. These activities helped me become a very fast runner in my early years and always kept me wanting to try more of our local sports activities. Unfortunately, I was not able to do too many activities due to my parents being very afraid that I would “break” some part of my body, so they kept me from signing up for most of the sports I wanted to play (mainly football). My parents always thought that since I was a small child that I was very fragile and couldn’t handle all of the roughness of many of the sports (this is due to me breaking my arm falling off of a sliding board when I was younger), and even though I really wanted to participate, they always said no.
So after not really being able to do many things as a youngster, once I was out of school I decided to just try a local running race to see how I could do. I ran the 5K race in my basketball shoes and ended up doing well and really loved the group aspect of the race. Everyone was racing hard but always took time to support and encourage each other. This got me started on the fun and exciting next 30 years as a running racer. I participated in every distance race possible, including the marathon distance and had fun with every race I was in. But about three years ago I hit what I never thought I would hit during my active life: the dreaded wall. Even though I was still training well throughout the year, all of the running races were just boring me. To constantly have to just look at a road and keep going without any type of excitement was just getting too monotonous. I was starting to slack off more and more with my running and began doing less and less racing. I was getting frustrated and was looking for something to get me motivated again.
That is when I came across an ad for the Warrior Dash. I looked at the ad and thought “this could be what I am looking for to get me motivated again.” I signed up for the race and when I arrived I had no idea what to expect. But after running the race I knew this was the type of racing that I could thrive in. There was only one issue after the race, and that was I just didn’t think the race was “that hard.” I knew I wanted to do more races, but wanted something that was more of a challenge. Luckily, I was handed a flyer on the way out of the race for the type of race I needed to get me motivated again: the Spartan Race. After doing the PA Spartan Sprint in 2011, I was totally hooked. The obstacles and challenges of that race finally had me addicted to something that to this day has me constantly thinking about and working towards being a better Obstacle Course Racer. I was fortunate enough to complete the Spartan Race Trifecta for 2012 and 2013, and I am looking forward to doing the same in 2014, as well as getting into many more of the up and coming obstacle races that are starting up everywhere.