Assistant athletic director runs more than a department

By Austin Miller

Some men unwind with hobbies such as woodcarving, car restoration or bowling. One SIU employee likes to spend his time away from the office running.

Matt Vincent, assistant athletic director for compliance, took up long distance running while he was in college and completed the New York City Marathon on Nov. 2.

Battling against 20 mph winds in New York, Vincent completed the race in five hours and 18 minutes, more than three hours behind men’s winner, Wilson Kipsang of Kenya.


Vincent started his running while training as an offensive lineman at Saint Mary’s College and New Mexico State from 2001 to 2004. Vincent said he started out running 20 minutes on a treadmill, but increased his time to push himself. Twenty minutes turned into 25. Twenty-five minutes turned into 30, which progressed to 40.

After hitting those time goals, Vincent decided he should try a race. He ran a 5K and then a 10K.

He ran a half marathon in Tupelo, Miss., in 2010 and was set up with a trainer, Lynn Holland.

Vincent ran his first marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon, in 2011.

Holland, who lives in Tupelo, said he has never met Vincent in person and gave him training routines online.

Holland’s regimen starts 17 weeks before the race, running 20 miles a week. From there, the mileage increases, hitting 40 to 50 miles a week at the end of training.

Holland, who has completed seven marathons during his 35 years in long distance running, said his program is similar to those of other top-level marathon runners. He modifies the training when he needs to.


“Lots of people running marathons today are not running 40 miles a week,” Holland said. “But when they’re done, they feel like they’ve been hit by a car.”

Vincent said he doesn’t feel post-race effects until about two days after. He said walking up stairs is not fun.

To maximize his training, Vincent makes sure he eats the right foods. Chicken and pasta give him the carbohydrates and energy to keep running.

Senior cross-country runner Oscar Medina has given Vincent tips and said eating properly is one the most important parts of his preparation.

Medina said he loves to eat chocolate, but has to enjoy the treat in moderation to be at his best.

“You have to stay away from junk food and sugar because it slows you down and it slows down your recovery,” Medina said.

During training, Vincent said he burns around 4,000 calories a day, so he tries to consume nearly 6,000 calories. He said chicken is a mainstay of his diet, but isn’t too picky and will eat anything else his wife cooks.

“I try to eat what I use and not eat too much,” he said.

As part of his routine, he always eats spaghetti the night before the race.

Other parts of his routine include wearing the same pair of Brooks Ghost running shoes and long-sleeve Ole Miss shirt. He was the assistant director of compliance at Ole Miss before he came to SIU in 2013.

In addition to New York City and Disney World, he has also completed the Big Sur International Marathon in Big Sur, Caif., and the Chicago Marathon.

Vincent said he plans to run every two years, starting with the Vancouver USA Marathon in Vancouver, Wash. in 2016. Next he will return to Disney World to complete the Goofy Challenge, which is a half-marathon, followed by a full the next day.

His ultimate goal for running is to run the Boston Marathon in 2020.

“It’s the most well-known marathon,” he said. “That will probably be my last hurrah with marathons. I’ll stick to halves after that.”

Austin Miller can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AMiller_DE