Those who think pushing a baby stroller will keep Paul Matuszak from successfully defending his 2017 Kiwanis-Sesame Place Classic 5K might want to consider this one little fact:
He can still crank out about a 5:30 mile pace, rubber-baby-buggy-bumper included.
So when hundreds of runners line up at Sesame Place on May 20 for the 20th annual Classic and they aren’t pushing strollers, beware. The guy with the one-year-old (also named Paul) in the stroller will still be hard to keep up with.
Little Paul has been a passenger on some long training runs with his dad, so he’s no stranger to fast travel.
“He tags along with me on some runs,’’ dad Matuszak says. “He’s gone as 15 miles in the stroller. I think he puts up with it because he knows he can take a nap and he gets to go to the playground afterwards.
“I’ve gone quick toward the end of long runs. I’ve gotten down in the high 5-minute range on Kelly Drive (in Philadelphia) where there aren’t any bumps. I’m sure I could race at 5:30 but I haven’t tried it.’’
Adding to this fascinating story is the fact that Paul’s wife, Meghan, is about to deliver another little Matuszak in early June. Or maybe late May. So there’s always that to consider. Maybe a double ride?
Matuszak, who edged Langhorne native and fellow Philadelphia Track Club member Steve Hall in last year’s race (both ran in the mid-15-minute range), says he’s looking forward to the Sesame race because it offers so much to young families.
“I just like the event, having a child and having a second child on the way in June. . .Sesame Place is a place that we will be visiting quite a bit over the next few years,’’ he said. “I think it’s great that it comes with a (one-day free admission) pass. It helps to be able to do something like that – it’s an extra benefit.’’
As for the cause, Matuszak appreciates the fact that all proceeds go to the Dick Dougherty Scholarship Fund, which has raised more than $400,000 in college scholarship aid over the past 19 years.
“College costs are getting kind of outrageous,’’ Matuszak said, “so any kind of cause that helps the cost there is fantastic.’’
Matuszak, 31, found the fast, flat Oxford Valley Mall course to his liking, too.
“The course is pretty basic,’’ he said. “It’s set up so you can run pretty fast. A lot of straightaways. You can really hammer that last 800 meters. It’s a kicker’s dream.
Matuszak ran prep track for Archbishop Ryan and was a decent sub-2:00 half-miler and 4:30 miler. But in college he got that mile time down to 4:17 and his 5K best is now in the 14:50 range on the track.
He’s run a sub-2:25 marathon and hopes to get his time down under 2:20 to get the U.S. Olympic “B” qualifying standard in 2019.
“I haven’t done my best yet,’’ he said. “I did pace the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon for 20 miles at the “B’’ standard, which at the time was 2:18. And I’ve done a 68-minute half. So I just need to extend that.’’
As for Sesame, he’s taking a competitive approach but also preparing to have some fun, too.
“It (fatherhood) totally changes your life from day one,’’ he says. “You have your running schedule and then they’re born and that just jumps up. It takes No. 1, taking care of your child.’’
Watch out for those rubber-baby-buggy-bumpers. They could cut a mean swath through that Sesame field.
Antarctica: Mission accomplished
Randy Maugle and his wife, Val, did what they set out to do, running marathons on all seven marathons with the completion of the Antartica Marathon on March 16.
Val was 8th overall and 3rd female in the half-marathon.
Randy was 95th out of 117 and finished in under 6:10.
Both have completed marathons (or half-marathons) in all 50 states. Randy did all this with an artificial hip.
Congratulations to both on a great accomplishment.