Tell us a little about you. Where you live, what your background is. What (if) you do in addition to being a Certified Instructor.
I currently reside in Clifton, NJ just outside NYC where I “grew” up until age 45. I’m married to Birmania Matalon and am a father to twins toddlers Sarah Juliana and Julian Israel.
I lead continuing education for the fitness and wellness industry. As well am director of Wellness at Leaf Brands (company providing PPE to the United States)
My fitness/ wellness career began in 1986 while at Queens College University as a dance major and LaCrosse Division II player. My company JoeFitnessWorld began in 1986 and incorporated in 8/1/2001.
How did you start running?
I began running early. As the smallest kid in the hood. I had to run for my life so as to not get beat up by the bigger kids/adults. My father trained me to “stay hungry” and ‘fight’ for what I wanted. My love for soda was huge. So my dad said he’ll allow me to have a soda for every mile I ran. I’d run around the block (which was a mile) 2-3 x’s. After the 2nd soda, I had no more interest in soda. These days, I occasionally sip a diet coke for momentary childlike enjoyment,
Early on I’d envisioned marathoning and ironmaning when I became an adult.
When and how did ChiRunning come into your life? (The short story.
I met Danny Dreyer at the Boston Marathon in 2004. I was in a depression, due to knee re-construction, while at the same time securing a spot in the race. I was asked to represent NYC as an honored runner due to my philanthropic efforts and promotion for kid’s health in NYC. Danny led a seminar pre race day at the expo. I was sold instantly. With my energy renewed, I began my relationship with Danny and Chi Living that continues to this day.
In what ways has Chi changed your perception of and success in running?
Chi alters my relationship to running on an ongoing basis. On days when I’m really Yang and on, I go with it. Conversely, on days when I’m yin, “not feeling it,” I go with the flow and take my time.
Running is a skill to hone where I strive to bring out the best Runner in me. My tag line is to “Run like you did as a kid” while running and practicing ChiRunning. I want my running to be graceful, rhythmic and energizing while I run into my 90’s!
What do you think is the biggest misconception of ChiRunning?
The biggest misconception is that it’s for “old people” and injured people and not for world class athletes. I work with pro triathletes and record holders and they practice ChiRunning techniques and ongoingly improve their running skills, times and distance while moving their muscles, molecules and mind in a whole new way each time they practice.
What motivates you to run?
My father. He used to run a 5k every day. I live out my interpretation of him every time I do my ChiRunning practice aka a run!
What achievements are you most proud of? Teaching ChiRunning in the Farfellas of Rio de Janeiro. It was an orphanage where I taught and played with purpose with the children.
What led you to become an instructor?
It’s my calling. In 2004 when I was summoned to meet Danny Dreyer at the Boston Marathon expo, I knew it. I told him I’m taking this back to NY and am going to go global with it… And. I fulfilled this and continue to fulfill this.
Why do you enjoy being an instructor, and how has it affected your life? It’s given me a platform to travel globally, work with fortune 500 companies, orphanages and make a massive world difference. I fulfill my life purpose of racial harmony and equal play for all.
What does your average week look like, run-wise? 25 miles per week
What other forms of exercise do you practice to compliment ChiRunning?
RUNhabX: Backwards to the Future Training. It is 5-9 miles forward running on hills plus one mile running backward on flats .
Advice for people new to Chi Running?
Focusing on ‘be’ing a runner rather than ‘do’ing running.
Short answer! Okay, GO.
Most memorable race:
Favorite race you’ve run and why: Spartan Stadium Race 2019 at CitiFIeld, NYC
It was in my hometown of Queens and I had a team of friends from childhood. My mission was to allow the Chi within me to flow and keep a smile on my face throughout. I fulfilled that and made many friends along the course. Even with helping the team through tough obstacles, I placed 3rd in my age range and 13th overall!
Ideal weather for running: I like running in the heat 90 degrees or more.
Focus that currently dominates your running: ankle lift, peel my feet off the ground as if they’re a stamp on a stamp role.
Favorite place to run: Central Park in New York
Go-to before race food: Oatmeal, coffee protein powder, almond milk
Celebratory food after: steak, broccoli rabe and a bottle of red wine,
Upcoming race/goal: 2022 NYC Marathon running backward the whole course.
Run with or without phone/music: Run listening to podcasts, audiobooks and occasionally music
Repeat on your playlist: The Prosperous Coach
If I didn’t run… I’d likely die from lack of breath. Be depressed, depleted, devoid of energy
I can’t run without… permission from my wife and twins.
My first race (marathon) was… the 1996 Long Island Marathon and I felt accomplished while also feeling exhausted and overheated.
My current favorite shoe to run in is… Nike Vapor
My most difficult run ever was… the 2007 NYC Marathon. It was rainy and my feet were soaked. I was pacing to finish under 2:59:05 until mile 23 along Central Park’s 5th Avenue. The blisters on my feet felt like painful water balloons as I dragged myself to the finish. However, my time ended at 3:33:17 which is my fastest marathon time
I’ve run… 30 marathons and 55 races overall
The longest distance I’ve run… is 37 miles around Central Park 9x’s for their Central Park, New York Ultra Marathon.