Matthew Nali, 20, Founder & President of SCV Hurdles, attends College of the Canyons, intending to transfer to one of the state universities. He attended Hart High (2012-2014), and, he says, " ran hurdles under the great Coach David who taught me everything I know in hurdles. I was able to go to CIF Finals my senior year and have career bests in the 110mH at 15.3, the 300mH at 38.78."
Cole Berlioz, 19 , Chief Editor Officer, attends San Francisco State University where he is working towards a kinesiology degree, hoping become a physical therapist. Cole played on the Hart tennis team, a dynamo on their doubles team. He advanced to CIF his senior year in doubles, but was out in the first round.
Luke Peckham,, 19, Head Photographer, works for OíConner Photography. He does video on the side, such as the excellent Justin Gallegos documentary.
1. Congratulations to all on SCV Hurdles. Such a pleasant and well-done and unexpected feature. How did it all happen? You're the hurdle guy, but you get Cole and Luke on board. What motivated you all to produce, for no pay, such an outstanding and on-going enterprise?
It all happened back in the fall of 2014 during hurdle practices at College of the Canyons. I was coming off a great senior year at Hart High School and was making the transition to college hurdle races when it hit me during a conversation with a former teammate. She was telling me where she ranked at her school up north in Modesto CA. I told her where I was, but I believe that is where it started. When I got the head hurdle coaching job at West Ranch, I was given access to their Track records which I sought after for a while since my high school days; just to see if I went there where I would rank against their runners. I started to create a list of names and eventually I had the Top 10 boys 300mH ranks in a matter of minutes. These ranks would branch out into grades, gender and CIF times. Pretty much, if I didnít have that conversation with my former teammate at COC I believe SCV hurdles wouldnít have become SCV Hurdles, but more of a scouting portfolio for my runners to get the edge and information on their competition. What motivated me would have to be keeping track of records, and for Cole to keep up his English skills; however, he is my best friend, and for Luke itís a great opportunity for him to show off his photography skills by taking pictures of a fast moving race. The website demands the best in every individual so our viewers know that we produce the best quality and nothing less.
2. Tell us about your athletic background? You obviously have speed distance dudes and dudettes would die for, but why did you elect hurdles, a kinda scary endeavor for most of us?
I donít know if you remember, or if it even happened, but I was that kid in PE who would give 100%. Either in activities being played or miles test, I have a competitive nature that drives me. I think itís a curse at times, but Iím just always motivated to get better at anything I attempt. I didnít join sports until 7th grade when my flag football and basketball team won CYO with undefeated seasons. Volleyball was great and it was the first sport I feel in love with. I did the same in 8th grade, but had easy exits in CYO for basketball and flag football. I was asked to join the track team, but I wasnít interested. I didnít do sports my freshman year at Hart, but Coach David asked me to join the track team my first class with him; I said no of course. It wasnít until sophomore year when I was in the bleachers and Coach David called out to the people that they needed young boy hurdlers. I took the opportunity and havenít looked back since. I believe it may have been destiny that I was going to do hurdles regardless because I was quite good at it. It turned out to be the best sport I have ever done, and the most demanding just ahead of cross country.
3. Honestly, just between you and the few Don's Diary readers (all friends, mostly distance deadheads), how hard do hurdlers work? It seems like you mostly just stretch a lot, often on your back, maybe a little work on the starts, go over three hurdles, prance, Look cool. True?
If that was true then everybody would be a hurdler. But to be honest, I believe that hurdlers work extremely hard. Iím not trying to take anything away from distance runners because I know they work extremely hard also. Just like any other runner some are just born with it and some arenít; however, those who work hard master their craft and become ďgreat.Ē If you want to be the best you have to work for it. It isnít given and if it was then nobody would have to work for it. Thatís the same approach I use when I am coaching my sprint team at Hart. For hurdles you have a combination of sprint workouts and mid-distance workouts. For instance, the 300mH race is a sprint/mid-distance race. For one running 300 meters doesnít sound like a lot, but you have to have the endurance training to be able to run on a high level for 300 meters at an under 12 second-pace for over 100, AND you canít mess up. One mess up and the race may be over for you, unlike distance where you have 2, 4 or maybe 8 laps which gives you lots of room just in case you mess up.
4. You're not on the COC track team. Retired at 20? Is a comeback in the future, perhaps the 400m hurdles? Or the marathon for hurdlers, the 3000 steeple?
I retired at 19 because of school, coaching, and family. I have thought of a comeback sometimes when I watch my runners run. Before I left the sport of hurdling to pursue coaching, my 400mH teacher at COC Lashinda Demus asked me if I was interested in chasing an Olympic career to represent the Philippines for any future events. She asked me this because I was only putting in about 2 hours of practice a week, but I was hitting times as if I was practicing every day. I respectfully declined it, but Iím positive that I will make a comeback one day. Steeple does look fun, I have to admit.
5. Your life at age 30? (Don't even bother to think about age 71. Way-too-scary, even more than the 3000 steeple. Or worse, the 30000 steeple at age 71.)
Life at age 30 I hope to have a PHD in Public Health, study disease and be close to a cure for one. Maybe I'll have a child, but not sure. However, just taking one day at a time and living life to the fullest.
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Ian Dobson, 35, 6-2, 150 pounds (at Stanford), attended Klamath Union High School. As a prep, he was 2nd in the state in the 1500 and 3000, and a two-time Oregon state cross country champion. Dobson competed at Stanford (2000-2005), a 10 time All-American, NCAA Indoor Champion in the 5000. As a pro, in 2005, he was 2nd at the U.S. Championships in the 5000; also competed in the 2008 Olympics in the 5000. He retired in 2012. He now coaches Team Run Eugene and, with Vin Lananna, the Sunday group at Hayward Field. He also serves as TrackTown USA's director of community programs and development.
1. You were blessed with the genes, truly outstanding in the 1500 to the 10,000, the steeplechase, and even posed a 1:02.33 half marathon. When/how did you first realize you were born to run? Did you instantly embrace your destiny, or was it a struggle to forsake inferior sports like football, basketball, et al?
Growing up in Klamath Falls, OR I was lucky to be exposed to a variety of sports when I was young. I started track & field in the 4th grade through the school track team and was a pretty good runner right away but I also played soccer, swam and biked. By the time I was in high school I was focused on running but I did swim on the HS team each winter. I never struggled with the decision to focus on running; I had such great a great coach, Marnie Mason (now Marnie Binney) and teammates in high school that I never felt like I missed out on anything.
2. And with a resume including a 27:5972 in the 10,000 and the promising half marathon, why no marathon or ultra? Is it too late for a 35 year old former Olympian?. Even after he retired, your buddy Ryan Hall ran seven marathons in seven days.
I stopped running competitively after the 2012 Olympic Trials and have never regretted it. Training and competing at that level requires sacrificing a lot of things and I was ready to move on to a new career. I still love running and Iím training for the Peterson Ridge Rumble 20-mile trail race (they allow dogs, so my dog Chap and I are training together) but in a totally recreational way. I was fortunate to compete professionally for seven years and I really believe I quit at the right time. I never got sick of the sport and I knew I wasnít going to get any faster.
3. Some people who know Ryan Hall tell me he is the most gifted U.S. long distance runner, and also the most quirky. True or false? Care to share a fun story or insight about him?
I donít know if heís the most gifted guy out there or not; lots of guys are really talented but Ryanís results certainly speak for themselves. Beyond being talented, which he definitely was, Ryan was very, very dedicated to being great. He and Sara were friends and teammates of mine in college and for a few years after that, when we were training in Mammoth Lakes, CA. I have a ton of great memories of training with them, but one example of how they could be kind of quirky was when they bought their first house in Mammoth and it turned out to have a bear living under it. I canít remember how they got rid of it, but Iím petty sure they lived in that house for at least a few weeks before getting rid of that bear!
4. You also great coaches with Vin Lananna at Stanford, Terence Mahon at Mammoth, and Mark Rowland in Eugene. What key takeaway you appreciate and absorbed from each?
Yeah, I was really lucky to get to run for those coaches. My high school coach, Marnie Binney, should definitely be included in that group too as she was a huge influence in my career and Andy Gerard was my coach for my last two years at Stanford when I ran the fastest 5k and 10k of my career.
Itís tough to pick out exactly what I learned from each of them but in general terms I think that from Marnie and Vin I learned a lot about what it means to be a teammate and how team culture can be performance-enhancing. Andy coached me at a point when I was beginning to have stronger opinions about the sort of training I felt I needed and he helped me think about that in a really productive way. Terrence definitely taught me a lot about the value of always searching for new ideas and Mark helped me think about the level of independence athletes should strive for in new ways.
I had success and failures with each of those coaches, so I feel like I was able to learn a lot from each of them based on how they worked with athletes when they were succeeding or struggling.
5. Team Run Eugene always starts with drills and a warm up, as does every other coached program we know in Eugene. For your individual clients, how many daily minutes (hours) do you require? How much was required by Lananna, Mahon, and Rowland?
TRE is made up mostly of athletes who support themselves through work in addition to running. I expect them to be present at all team practices which add up to about 10-15 hours each week. However, they also spend any number of additional hours taking care of all the other things that go into performance: nutrition, sleep, massage, etc. Those other coaches had similar expectations when I was part of their teams.
6. Looking back, your woulda, coulda, shoulda?
There are definitely things I would do differently if I could do my running career all over again, but I really think I gave it a good shot. I made decisions for reasons that I thought through with the help of smart people, so I donít actually regret anything. Looking back, there are specific races I wish Iíd raced differently, but for the most part Iím satisfied that I got the most out of myself.
7. Favorite running books and movies?
I love running but Iím not super interested in running books and movies. I really enjoyed Alexi Pappas and Jeremy Tiecherís film, Track Town, but other than that I donít have any favorites.
8. Now retired, how much running, other exercise, competitions do you do?
I run about 30 miles a week on average Ė just enough to stay in shape. I love to be fit, but the biggest difference now is that I get to do all the things I was afraid to do when I was competing. Now I get to go skiing, rock climbing, biking and whatever else I want to do.
9. Like Pre and Bowerman, you have been to up to help the prisoners in the running program at Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. Please tell us about it.
Iíve participated off and on in the monthly races at OSP for the last couple years. The program is run by inmates and I just participate like anyone else can. The runs are limited to a small number of outside runners, but itís worth going to see how important running is to some of those guys.
I also participate in runs at the MacLaren Youth Correctional facility in Woodburn. That program prepares guys to run a marathon in their facility which is a huge accomplishment for everyone involved. Thanks to some amazing staff at MacLaren, last year was the first year of the program and this year itís grown this year to a couple dozen guys. Like the program at OSP, experiencing running through the perspective of guys who donít have the freedoms that most of us do is inspiring and is an incredible reminder of how lucky we are.
10. Hey, I'm fine with wine, but you're a beer guy. Best beer, places in Eugene?
Yikes, itís hard to pick favorites! Right now Iím particularly fond of Coldfire Brewing but I make a point of enjoying beers from all of our locally owned breweries.
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