Editor’s Note: SOURCE invited runners from Team Framingham and a couple of other Framingham-based charity teams to participate in a series of Q&As about their training for the 2021 Boston marathon to be held in October this year, due to the pandemic. If you would like to submit a profile contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, October 11.
Donato is the Business Manager for the MetroWest YMCA Family Outdoor Center in Hopkinton
Is this your first marathon? This will be my first in a long time. My last marathon was in 2007, and it has become apparent during training that I was a much younger man in 2007. This will be my third overall, but hopefully not my last.
What is your personal best marathon time? I ran the 2006 Marine Corps Marathon in about 4 ½ hours. I always tell anyone who is interested in marathon running that just finishing is a personal best every time. Other than the top finishers, we all get the same medal.
Is this your first Boston Marathon? This will be the first time I have run Boston. I have gone out to cheer on the runners many times prior, though. We used to set up around mile 23 with a group of friends and offer the runners crazy things to eat, like Doritos or Stromboli, to see who would do it that far into the race. We’d shout out like salesmen trying to get them to eat whatever we were offering. Sometimes it worked and they would snack. I never was able to entice anyone to eat any of the Stromboli, though.
Why run Boston? I can’t stand on the sidewalk, handing out Stromboli every year.
Which charity are you raising money for? I am running for the MetroWest YMCA, in support of their new food distribution program, and their Y-Assist program, which makes access to membership and programming at the Y more equitable for all members of the community.
Why did you pick that charity? I have benefitted for years from my time at the Y. It was at the Y where I first got in shape to join the military, got me focused on my career with them, and they are now helping me with my quest to run a marathon again. The people who work there are some of the best you will ever find, and I am happy to have a way to give back.
How did you first get into running? I ran cross-country in High School and was terrible at it. I just ran because my friends were on the team. But I later found out that I could keep going beyond that 5k, and that I was much better at that. Just don’t stop. I can do that.
Why do you like to run? It’s my time. I cannot really be interrupted. I have never gotten a runner’s high, but at times it’s the closest I can ever get to meditating.
Tell me something about your training for the marathon: I kind of overbooked myself this summer, but have been training whenever I have been able to. The biggest obstacle this summer has been overcoming the heat and humidity. I ran/walked a half-marathon back in June, and knocked about a half-hour off that (without walking at all) last weekend. I have another few weeks to stretch it out, but I feel pretty ready to do the whole thing.
How has the pandemic changed your running habits? I wasn’t training at all during the 2020 year. It was probably Spring of this year when I decided I had to get back into shape. I run outside on roads and trails, so the pandemic was just one of many things I didn’t have to think about while running.
What is your favorite cross-training activity? Playing with my kid. Nothing wears me out like chasing him around.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why? I run by myself. No need to try to work in others’ schedules into this.
Are you an early morning runner or evening runner? Either way, just keep me out of that direct sunlight.
Music or no music when running? If music, favorite song? I’m a podcast guy. History or comedy. With music, songs start and stop. Each one is a bit of a time marker. If I put on some hour and a half episode on the rise and fall of the Assyrian Empire, I have no idea how long I have been going until the whole thing is over. It’s easier to fall into the moment that way.
What is your favorite pre-running meal? The best half-marathon I ever ran, I ate a cheddarwurst and a jelly stick beforehand. So I have no idea.
What is your favorite post-run snack? I’m usually too tired to eat at that point. I’ll just have whatever is convenient once I can move again.
Tell SOURCE readers something about you that has nothing to do with running: During track season at Saratoga, I handicap every race for the Daily Gazette out of Schenectady. I did pretty well this year, too, predicting about 30% of all the races correctly. Half of the income I brought in from that summer-long gig is going directly toward the MetroWest YMCA fundraising campaign for this race.
What shoes will you wear on Marathon day? I will be running in the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Gold Fusion/Black Iris. I bought them exclusively for the name. They have been great throughout training!
What is your goal for the 2021 Boston Marathon? I have just got to make it into the city and see and hear the crowd. With all the cheers for everyone, I’m going to feel like a pro regardless of what the finishing timer says.
Will you wear anything personal or symbolic the day of the 2021 Boston Marathon? Why?
Before my first marathon, I read an article that if you wear your name on your shirt, then when people cheer, they will cheer specifically for you. My first name is the most popular boys’ name of 1984, so I assumed there would be plenty of Matthews running. I decided to give myself a running alter ego. A less common name, so that when I hear it, I know for certain that it was for me. So I put the name “Otis” on my shirt for the 2006 and 2007 Marine Corps Marathons. I will be doing so again this year. And while Matthew would never eat a Stromboli at mile 23, Otis just might.