Name: Chris Mateer
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Hey Chris, thanks for taking time to speak with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you end up in Philadelphia and competing with PRTC?
Hey Kevin! I’m originally from Rochester, New York. I grew up just north of the city, went to college just south at SUNY Geneseo, and lived “downtown” for a year. Two years ago, I left my job working in race management and moved to Bethlehem, PA to work as a graduate assistant at DeSales University, where I coached and studied instructional technology. Bethlehem was pretty boring though so I spent a lot of my weekends in Philly at the El Bar. Eventually, I liked the city enough that I applied solely to jobs in the area and luckily landed one. Once I moved to Philly, I posted on LetsRun asking for a good running club in the area and Charlie responded immediately.
Can you tell us how you became a runner? Did a specific event compel you to take on the sport?
I actually started running to get in shape for hockey. It turned out I was too small for hockey, but just the right size for a distance runner. I thought I was a miler for a long time, but that ended up being very not true.
Once you began running, how did your career develop? Take us through day one to today.
I started running in 8th grade as a side-gig to hockey and didn’t fully take myself seriously as a runner until probably junior year of high school or so. My senior year of track went really well and I continued on a hot streak through my sophomore year of college. Unfortunately, I had very spotty junior and seniors seasons as a result of a series of stress fractures. My post-collegiate career has been a haphazard collection of clubs and different events. Success has varied widely.
You’re a native of Rochester NY. I’ve never had the privilege of visiting your esteemed hometown. Can you briefly describe it? How would you rate Rochester’s running scene?
I love Rochester to the point that I’m going to have the city logo tattooed on my body very shortly (I promised I would only get it if I ever moved away). It’s cold and snowy to the point I did not run indoor track in high school and instead played hockey, snowshoed, and cross-country skied. But there’s a Christmas tree made out of empty kegs downtown and that should tell you enough about the culture here. The running scene is also great. In my old house, I had the 4th best 5k PR out of 5 roommates.
What do you consider as your most impressive running accomplishment?
Two really stick out. I very unexpectedly won the ECAC 3k my sophomore year, setting a 9 second PR in this process. The one I recall most fondly, however, was a 2nd place finish at the 2012 SUNYAC Cross Country meet. It was a horribly muddy and cold day and I finished between two of my best friends and teammates. We talked about 1-2-3ing that meet over a lot of training runs that season and to see it actually happen was pretty cool.
Since graduating from SUNY Geneseo you’ve taken on some trail running. What is it that attracted you to the Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) scene?
I’m much more MT than MUT. Ultras will have to wait for a while. I grew up training almost exclusively on trails and always seemed to do my best on hillier and muddier cross country courses. I decided to give it a shot and it’s gone pretty well. I also definitely enjoy racing on varied terrains.
Aside from being an athlete, you’ve also spent time coaching. What was that experience like? Is this something you’d be interested in doing again?
Coaching is great but is an all-consuming career. You work 7 days a week and 60+ hours while in season and likely need to have a second job just to pay rent. I’d love to keep coaching at some point, but more as a hobby or passion than a career.
Regarding your running future, what are your near and long-term goals?
Short term, I want to get under 15 in the 5k, 31 in the 10k and crack top-10 at the US Mountain Running Championships in June. Long-term plans hinge on how quickly those aforementioned goals are accomplished.
As someone relatively new to Philadelphia, what have you most/least enjoyed about living in the City of Brother Love (and Sisterly Affection)?
I’m very into punk/indie music and the scene here is among the best in the country. There is also a nearly endless amount of volunteer opportunities and ways to become involved in the community. I love the distinct neighborhoods as well.
On the downside, you are all insane drivers and I wish there were mountains within an hour drive.
Any non-running related hobbies, hidden skills or talents we may enjoy hearing about?