Fleet Feet’s Get Fit team gets running start

Ten professionals and 10 teams are competing in the 2014 Get Fit Challenge, a spinoff of IB’s popular Fittest Executive Challenge. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Follow along on Facebook and then find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 22. This week, IB checks in with Matthew Reller of Fleet Feet Sports Madison, which is competing in the team challenge. Reller’s co-workers Matt Anderson, Curtis Hall, and Taylor Key round out the team.

I’m Matthew Reller, and I work at Fleet Feet Sports Madison. I’m sure a few of you are wondering why a team from a running store needs to be worried about its fitness, but let me be the first to say that I am far from where I want to be when it comes to conditioning. I know this may come across as lip service, but I am the newest full-time staffer, and I’m a novice when it comes to running.

In fact, I became a runner for my children. For much of my life, I was comfortably sedentary. In February of 2012, my world was shaken and that all changed. My wife, Amanda, and I had a stillborn son, named Frank. In the midst of our grief, we took stock of our health. I was 360 pounds. She told me that we had to do everything we could to have as much time as we could with each other, and to be a better example for our future child. She had been a participant in the No Boundaries program before, and she wanted to do it again, but not alone. She wanted me to do it with her, and with that logic, I could not say no.

I joined that spring session with the full intention of going through the motions to pacify her. In the midst of my anger and grief, my competitive spirit got the better of me. Along the way I began to really enjoy the way I felt after running. I wanted more, and it became something I missed when I didn’t have it. Early and often, my thoughts would turn to Frank and the things I didn’t get to teach him. Little did I know that he was teaching me how to be a better version of myself.

Through all of 2012, I participated in the No Boundaries sessions that were offered. I became a regular customer at Fleet Feet Sports Madison and liked the people there. In early 2013, I was in need of a part-time job, and during my search I saw a Facebook post that mentioned Fleet Feet was in need of night and weekend part-time help. Luckily, I was able to join the staff, and it feels like I belong here. My wife and I also found out we were pregnant again, this time with a little girl we named Ruth.

When the opportunity arose to join the team for the In Business Get Fit challenge, I jumped at the chance. My running had become a way for me to excuse other aspects of my fitness level, or lack thereof, and I had allowed myself to become stagnant. Joining this team, which was all about improvement, sounded like a nice way to jump-start a new fitness regimen and get myself excited about results again.



I have noticed my clothes have begun to fit better, and change sizes. My endurance level is improving, and I don’t feel as nervous about my upcoming first attempt at a half-marathon as I was when the year began. My colleagues and friends have been extremely supportive, but the biggest advantages have come around the house. I can carry around Ruthie for longer periods and have been delighted to hear her squeals coming from the jogging stroller.

I would not have made it to where I am now without Frank, Ruth, and my wife. Their persistence and persuasion pushed me into a whole new world — one that is both challenging and rewarding. I have been working there just over a year, and each day I still get nervous and excited about going to work. I get to help people meet the goals that they have set out to accomplish. I feel blessed being able to share with people the store that gave me so much at a time in my life when I felt so raw. The staff at Fleet Feet and the participants in No Boundaries have become an extended family that I am proud to belong to, and one that I am happy to introduce my daughter Ruth, and others, to.

Meet all of the competitors here and see who wins at the In Business Expo & Conference

Click here to sign up for the free IB ezine — your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.