MEMBER: Matt Herzig
Name: Matt Herzig
Hometown: Weston, MA
High School: Weston High School
College: Dartmouth College
Occupation: Medical School
10k: 30:18 (Mt. Sac Relays, 2017)
Half Marathon: 1:07:21 (New Bedford, 2018)
Marathon: 2:18:36 (Philadelphia, 2018)
12th place Boston Marathon (2018)
6th place Philadelphia Marathon 2018)
Marathon: 2:18:36 (Philadelphia, 2018)
By: Kevin Brandon (11/25/18)
Matt, thanks for taking some time to speak with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you end up in Philadelphia and running with PRTC?
I graduated college in 2017 and spent a year in Boston working at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center doing medical research. While there, I ran with the Heartbreakers, a Boston-area running team. I moved to Philadelphia in August to start medical school at Penn. Running has always been a big part of my life, and I wanted to find a group to keep training with in Philly. I’ve been gratefully to be able to keep running with PRTC.
When did you first become a runner? Did a specific event compel you to take on the sport?
I started running in middle school and then joined the track cross country team when I got to high school. I was planning to just run cross country, but my teammates talked me into coming out for track. By the end of the first year I was hooked.
Once you began running, how did your career develop? Take us through day one to today.
Once I bought in to running, I started running a lot of mileage. During my freshman summer in high school, a group of teammates and I attended running camp, where we ran twice a day. I stuck with training twice daily through high school, and I was a strong runner by the time I reached senior year. I won a few titles for Eastern Massachusetts in the two-mile and in cross country and was competitive in the all-state meet.
At Dartmouth, I was strong as a freshman during cross country, but by the spring of my first year, I started falling behind in workouts and struggling with a series of injuries. I lost most of my sophomore and junior years of running to cycles of injury and over-training. It wasn’t until my senior year when I found more success. In the fall of 2016, I was part of a group of the team that qualified for the NCAA national meet, which was a major accomplishment for the group.
After college, I decided to pursue the marathon. I decided I wanted to go to medical school, and I wanted to run a few competitive marathons before I might need to work out less to focus on medical training. I grew up outside Boston and had always wanted to race the Boston Marathon. In the fall, I qualified for Boston in the Charles River Marathon and then finished third in the Cape Cod Marathon. The next April, I finished twelfth in the Boston Marathon.
In August of 2018, I moved from Boston to Philly and set my sights on qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Trials in the Philadelphia Marathon. I’m proud to have recently achieved the “B” standard.
How did you enjoy training in Dartmouth and competing for the "Big Green"?
Dartmouth was a great place to run. We had a close group of teammates, and everyone was committed to the sport. Barry Harwick was an excellent coach. Dartmouth has a strong history of producing successful distance runners. It was inspiring to have guys like Will Geoghegan and Ben True come through the same program.
Can you tell us about a favorite running accomplishment or moment?
In the beginning of my senior year, the cross country team agreed that our goal was to qualify for the NCAA Championship meet. Realizing this goal was a huge accomplishment for us. We qualified from the northeast region by just one point. Each of the five seniors on the team was part of the squad that raced at regionals. Our trip to Terra Haute that fall was a great way to end college cross country.
How about a not-so-great moment?
I was injured frequently during college. Looking back on that period in my training, I was definitely guilty of overtraining. I spent a lot of time during my sophomore and junior years in the trainers’ office working through various hip and foot injuries.
Regarding your running future, what are your near and long-term goals?
The next two major races I have planned are the Boston Marathon in 2019 and the 2020 Olympic Trials in Atlanta. It will be my goal to train well for those races and place as high as I can in each.
What inspired you to choose a career in medicine? How have you enjoyed your studies at Penn so far?
Both my parents are physicians. Growing up, I had always thought I might be interested in medicine. At Dartmouth, I got involved in medical research working on joint replacements in the engineering school as well as conducting cardiology research in Boston. As I was able to spend time shadowing doctors in the clinic and helping with research, I became more confident in my interest in a medical career and decided to apply to medical school.
I am enjoying my time at Penn. School has been demanding, but I’m studying information that will be useful in the future, so the work feels worthwhile. I have also had a great time getting to know my classmates and exploring Philly.
As a first year, have you begun to get a feel for where you'd like to specialize?
I’m not sure what branch of medicine I’d like to pursue yet. In college and in the year before starting at Penn, I did research in orthopedics and cardiology. Those are very different, and I think that leaves a lot of things on the table at this point.
Any non-running related hobbies, hidden skills, or talents we may enjoy hearing of?
I enjoy hiking and backpacking. I also like road cycling when I can fit it around training for running.