Matt Scoletti, a current resident of Pittsburgh’s North Hills, plans to run the entire 26.2 miles of the marathon with an 11-pound weight vest to represent the 11 lives lost in the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre. A motivational speaker by trade, Matt has competed on “American Ninja Warrior,” biked 250 miles in 24 hours in Australia and completed a number of Tough Mudder runs, but this is his first marathon.
Are you also associated to a Tree of Life Synagogue charity?
I am not associated with the charity. I just reached out to their community and asked them if it was OK that I run this race in honor of those 11 beautiful people we lost. They had a wonderful response back to me and are honored that I’m dedicating my run to their community.
What gave you this heartfelt purpose to run for this passionate purpose?
I absolutely LOVE Pittsburgh! Love this city so much. I also believe that love ALWAYS wins in the long run. Bad things have happened in this world and will continue to happen. However, human beings continue to love and support one another and I wanted to show further proof of that with my dedication race at the Pittsburgh Marathon. LOVE CONQUERS ALL!
What lead you to be a motivational speaker by trade?
I used to be an alcoholic. I turned my life around by using fitness and healthy living as my motivator. Then, my story of “alcoholic turned fitness champion” gained some traction and many people reached out to me asking me how I did that. I figured I should use this platform to help out as many people as possible so I began learning how to give a good presentation. I truly believe this is my God-given path in life to help others by using my voice and energy to inspire the world!
What is it about obstacle course competitions that drive you to participate?
I am absolutely obsessed with obstacle course racing for one simple reason: it creates a stronger mindset. Obstacle course racing and life have so many similarities. There are random obstacles all over the course and you have no idea which one will show up next. Life is no different. We wake up every single day and have no idea what obstacles will be in our way. So obstacle course racing helps me strengthen my mindset to take on the obstacles of life!
When did you start training? I only asked because if you are running with 11 extra pounds on you, did you start with one pound at a time or all at once? How did that process begin and end, so that you will be ready on the start date of the marathon?
I started training for this marathon on New Year’s Day this year. I trained for a couple weeks with no weight vest on. Then, after 2-3 weeks, I began doing all of my runs with the 11 pound weight vest attached to me. The first 3-5 runs were really brutal with the added weight. But, in thinking about those that we lost, and my WHY for doing this marathon, it has helped me push through even the longest training sessions I’ve had. I’ve worked my way up to a 21 mile run and in the 2-3 weeks leading up to the marathon, I’m tapering my running down from 21 miles, to 15 miles, to 8 miles, and then it’s RACE DAY!
How did you know your book, ‘The First 15’ would be an inspiration to others?
I didn’t know the impact it would have initially. I had only hoped it would help a few people make small changes in their life. Then, once the book was launched, I couldn’t believe the feedback I got. First off, not many people knew about the alcohol problem I had because I hid it very well. I feel for those who are currently going through similar problems and I beg you to find help while you can. Then, a few months after the book launched, I got many comments, texts, and conversations started about how others were using the concepts in the book to change their own lives. I cannot even begin to describe the joy I get in hearing that people are using the book to make positive changes in their lives. I’m so blessed that the book took the shape it did and I’m so thankful that I surrounded myself with people that could help me make that book a reality!
I know your wife Stephanie who heads local Pittsburgh charity Young Adult Cancer Support Group will be on the sidelines cheering for you, will she be coordinating with your running outfit? Or doing anything extra special with a banner to stand out in the crowd?
She always has a few tricks up her sleeve during these fitness events that I enjoy doing, LOL. I know that she has some signs that are currently being made and she also has some instruments that will provide plenty of noise! If I were a fan of the Pittsburgh Marathon, I’d plant myself next to her because she has an insane amount of energy and will root just as hard for every runner out there on the course! I’ve been so grateful that she has supported all of my long runs that I’ve been doing and she even tracked me down at North Park one day in order to cheer for me as I jogged by on a practice run. It was the coolest moment ever and just shows the love we have for one another!