Matthew J. Rodjom

Matthew Rodjom1.    On behalf of all the DC Roadrunners, I'd first like to say congratulations on a terrific Boston Marathon debut.  Did you think you'd place in any category?  When did you find out that you placed third?

From reviewing past Boston results, I knew my previous times were competitive in the Visually Impaired category. I went into the race hoping to be in the top five. About an hour after the race, my dad called me at the hotel and told me that the Boston website had the unofficial results and listed me as the third place finisher.  I didn’t really believe it until I was at the awards ceremony.

2.    Can you describe your visual impairment and how it has affected your running?


 My visual impairment is similar to macular degeneration, which leaves a blind spot in the central vision but normal sight in the peripheral vision.  I lost my sight when I was 20 years old to a genetic condition. I am very lucky that my peripheral vision is still strong enough to allow for independent running. I still have to be cautious and watch out for holes, small poles and roots. When the Club runs Glover Archibold, I slow down to get through it without killing myself.


3.   What advice would you give a runner, or any athlete, who is visually impaired?

Don’t ever use your visual impairment as an excuse when running.  Every runner has some difficulties when training. Ours are just not the norm.

4.   I believe you might be one of the few (if not the only) DC Roadrunner member to have a brush with stardom after finishing Boston .  What was it like standing next to Kara Goucher? 

After the Boston award ceremony, I randomly bumped into Kara Goucher while waiting for my family.  She kindly congratulated me on my race as I did hers. My father was able to get a picture of the two of us.  Afterwards, I felt like a kid in a candy shop.   

5.  What is the best piece of advice you can give to a runner aspiring to qualify for Boston?  What about someone just starting to run?

Develop a plan and stick to it. If you want to qualify for Boston, have a good training plan and a plan for race day. I found out the hard way that not following a race day plan makes for a long marathon. I would tell a newbie runner to start slow and have fun. Don’t bite off more than your body is ready for.

6.  Who or what inspires you?  Why?

The world has a misguided view of the abilities of the blind and visually impaired.  I want to prove them wrong.

7.  Describe your fantasy running date.  Who are you running with, where, and for how long?

This may sound cheesy, but my wife, Sarah. I like knowing that I can run with her whenever I want.  Sometimes it is just a short jog after work, sometimes it is a long training run, and sometimes it is around a city we are visiting on vacation. 

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Not cheesy at all!  Thanks, Matt, for sharing your memories and advice with the DCRR.

Interviewed by Alexandra Steinberg Barrage
-asb

 

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The DC Road Runners Club is a chapter of the Road Runners Club of America and are also affiliated with USA Track & Field. We provide a year-round schedule of running events that offer everyone a chance to participate regardless of age, gender, or athletic ability.