Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Matt Brown couldn’t be happier to finish the Monster 5K, even if he came in 85th out of 88 runners. Less than two years ago, he weighed more than 500 pounds and could barely walk up and down his street.
Matt Brown sheds 235 pounds and finds his stride
Story by Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO August 6, 2013 For someone like SUNY Sullivan executive chef Matt Brown, Sunday's Monster Classic 5k/10K Run and Walk had nothing to do with the competition or trophies. Instead, it was about the journey and “my life without boundaries.”
Brown, 46, who finished third from last in the 88-person 10K race could barely walk 100 feet 19 months ago when he weighed an astonishing 501 pounds.
"We couldn't ride on planes without double seats and extended seat-belts for him," explained his wife Donna. "We couldn't enjoy the wonderful concerts at Bethel Woods because he didn't fit in the seats. It was just a very limited lifestyle because there just weren't many things we could do out there," she added.
Feeling like he was fighting a losing battle, in 2011 Brown began preparing for gastric bypass surgery. "We were getting ready to do it," said Donna. "He was going to all the meetings and preparing to go under the knife."
But then Donna came up with an alternative. Under the guise of a romantic Caribbean getaway, she planned a December 2011 vacation. "It was our 10th wedding anniversary and I told him we needed to go away to the Caribbean on a relaxing romantic vacation," Donna said. Matt would soon find out that they were not headed to a Caribbean island, but to a weight-loss spa in South Carolina. "I tricked him," affirmed an elated Donna Brown.
"I went, but I only agreed to listen to what they had to say," offered Matt. "I said I'd go with an open mind and give it a chance, but I honestly didn't believe it was going to work."
In his week in South Carolina, Matt learned the importance and virtues of whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruit, low fat proteins, and the all important proper portion size. Matt was also given some instructions: "Basically they told us to go home and throw out absolutely everything in our refrigerator and pantry," he explained. “They told us we needed to start from scratch with what they call a 'clean diet.'”
Brown's orders meant he could only eat food prepared from scratch and with only fresh ingredients no added salts and no added sugars among various other alterations to his diet.
And it’s working big time. Or should we say, smaller time.
Today, Brown is down to a much healthier and happier 265 pounds; quite literally half the man he used to be. And he's picked up the running bug in the process of his transformation. "I ran my first race two weeks ago at the Rails to Trails 5K in Woodridge, and then last weekend I ran my second," he said, adding, "today was my best time yet!"
Besides the obvious lifestyle enhancements, Brown's drastic weight loss has afforded him, it's had quite a few health benefits as well. Brown is no longer diabetic and his cholesterol levels are at an all-time low.
Brown is even working on bringing his newfound heathy-eating lifestyle to the students at SUNY Sullivan with a concept he calls "Matt's Corner.” This new undertaking will offer healthy meals, recipes, cooking tips and detailed nutrition information on the items being served and samplings of menu items. He will also offer instruction to students and the school community on how to make sound choices for healthy lifestyles by incorporating whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and low-fat options into their daily diet while encouraging healthy eating. Matt will post weekly blogs letting customers know of the week’s featured healthy items. "Matt’s Corner falls right in line with the college's health and wellness initiative," says Donna.
Asked what his ideal weight goal is, Brown is realistic, offering, "I don't like to carry a weight goal. Every time I put a number on it, I either blow it away, or I feel like I've failed. My goal is just one thing: being healthy."
There is a goal, though, that Brown is willing to put a date on. "I want to be able to run the New York Half Marathon next year," he says. "Then, in two years, I hope to run the full Marathon. I couldn't even walk up my street before, but now it's all about life without boundaries."
As for the Monster races Sunday, 17-year-old Hans Zanger of Forestburgh paced all runners in the 5K race with a time of 16:52.4. A cross country and indoor and outdoor track standout at Port Jervis High School, Zanger condensed his love of the sport to two simple words:
"The feeling. There's just nothing like the feeling you get when you’re running, when you finish. I have it right now.”
Finishing second for the 5K runners was 18-year-old Reed Scott of Jeffersonville in 16:59.5. Troy Zanger, 15, of Forestburgh was third in 19:13.6.
Nine-year-old local running phenom Evan Watertown ran the 10K circuit for the second consecutive year finishing 36th out of 88 runners with a time of 50:27.7.
"This is when I'm really having fun," offered Waterton when asked why he runs so much. "I hope I can always do this," added the youngster who was accompanied by his mother Billie who's also a fixture at all the local races cheering on her future track star. Waterton finished the 10K in 51:16 last year; good for 39th place.
First place for the 10K runners went to 27-year-old Vincent Reilly of Swan Lake with a time of 38:36.7. Second and third place went to Daegan Miller and Michael Bassett with respective times of 38:38.9 and 40:06.9. Twenty-four-year-old Jackie Marrinan took first place in the 5K walker's division while James Goldfarb of Harris took second, and rounding out the top three was Barry Lewis of Woodbourne.
There were so many youngsters milling about at the finish line organizers went ahead and set up an impromptu, unofficial one-mile circuit for them to compete in once the race was over.
A total of 278 runners and walkers participated in the Monster Classic, which benefits the Monticello Rotary Club.
For full race results and times, please go to www.coolrunning.com.
||5K Run Top Finishers
5K RUN Overall Top 10
1. Hans Zanger, Forestburgh 16:52
2. Reed Scott, Jeffersonville 16:59
3. Troy Zanger, Forestburgh 19:13
4. Andy Vogel, Roseland (NJ) 19:20
5. Ian Kurzrock, Woodbourne 19:55
6. Sam Miller 20:40
7. Michael Williams, Wshngville 20:48
8. Brandon Law, Liv. Manor 20:51
9. Joe Broroda, Massapequa 21:09
10. Syndey Johnson, Rock Hill 21:16
1. Sydney Johnson, Rock Hill 21:16
2. Barbara Ferrante, Wurtsboro 22:00
3. Camryn Johnson, Rock Hill 22:09
1. Kayla Maas, Barryville 24:48
2. Hannah Hendrix, Monticello 36:23
3. Alicia Sali, Rock Hill 37:07
1. Zach Hufaut, Bloomingburg 25:31
2. Gabriel Vayner, Brooklyn 26:58
3. Jamar Jackson, Monticello 27:37
1. Courtney Meyerer, Youngsville 22:56
2. Tegan Jones, New City 26:25
3. Sarah Malzahn, Pond Eddy 28:47
1. Ian Kurzrock, Woodbourne 19:55
2. Joe Boroda, Massapequa 21:09
3. Shmuel Yaish, Monticello 24:32
1. Kelsey Brochu, Rock Hill 23:22
2. Valerie Burger, Middletown 23:32
3. Maddy Goldsmith, Middltwn 23:37
1. Brandon Law, Liv. Manor 20:51
2. Matt Rico, Rock Hill 28:48
1. Racel Kleinman, Ferndale 29:53
2. Alyscha Deluca, Wurtsboro 31:00
3. Hadley Parker, Rock Hill 31:48
1. Sam Miller 20:40
2. Nick Kentop, Ellenville 21:39
3. Mark Campbell, Middletown 21:56
1. Elizabeth Bassett, Rock Hill 23:24
2. Eugenia Korotkona, Frstburgh 25:36
3. Juliette McKerrell, Liberty 28:48
1. Andy Vogel, Roseland (NJ) 19:20
2. Joseph Egan, Jeffersonville 25:39
3. Leonid Jayner, Brooklyn 28:00
1. Rebecca Samson, Los Angeles 27:56
2. Laura Newfield, Rock Hill 30:36
3. Tanya Cohen, Jeffersonville 30:46
1. Michael Williams, Wshgtnville 20:48
2. Keith Scott, Parksville 23:44
3. Dan Drewett, Eldred 24:52
1. Suzanne Willian, Garden City 30:44
2. Sandy Rubin, Albuquerque 33:03
3. Janowski Ziporah, Croton 35:54
1. Clint Foxwell, Rock Hill 22:11
2. Craig Parson, Spring Valley 25:19
3. George Ackerman, Knza. Lake 25:52
1. Eileen Wohltjen, Hurleyville 30:22
2. Beverley Garzon, Parksville 36:14
1. Steve Boniface, White Lake 57:25
Female 70 AND OVER
1. Victoria Greffrath, Damascus 38:25
2. Mary Heinle, WSS 38:56
Male 70 AND OVER
1. Dan Lincoln, Evergreen (CO) 23:35
2. Jerry Fielding, Monticello 39:09
3. Richard Kingman, Cornwall 41:14
5K Walk Top Finishers
5K WALK OVERALL TOP 5
1. Jackie Marrinan 33:42
2. James Goldfarb, Harris 36:03
3. Barry Lewis, Woodbourne 36:27
4. Denise Porter, Youngsville 38:19
5. Helen Rados, Harris 38:31
10K Run Top Finishers
10K RUN Overall Top 10
1. Vincent Reilly, Swan Lake 38:36
2. Daegan Miller, Ithaca 38:38
3. Michael Bassett, Rock Hill 40:06
4. Jared Hart, Jeffersonville 40:42
5. Joseph Klein, Forestburgh 41:18
6. Hauk Boyes, Parksville 41:57
7. John Sellstrom, Liberty 42:16
8. Caroline Willian, Short Hills 42:53
9. Richard White, New York 42:58
10. Erik Sellstrom, Liberty 43:28
1. Caroline Willian, Short Hills 42:53
2. Fernanda Faria, Goshen 44:36
3. Jennifer Jankowski, Kingstonl 45:15
1. Evan Waterton, Kiam. Lake 50:27
1. Rianne Erlwein, Jeffersonville 49:22
2. Olivia Rehm, Grahamsville 50:08
1. Joseph Klein, Forestburgh 41:18
2. Hauk Boyes, Parksville 41:51
3. Justin Weintraub, Hurleyville 44:17
1. Tina Hart, Kauneonga Lake 47:31
2. Joanna Goldfarb, Harris 47:48
3. Rebekah Caruso, Mntaindale 49:27
1. Jared Hart, Jeffersonville 40:42
2. Joe Dunn, Rock Hill 46:31
3. Colon Sweeney, Jeffersonville 46:39
1. Stacey Evans, Middletown 50:26
2. Rivky Orlow, Jamaica (NY) 51:45
3. Mara Miller, Arlington (MA) 56:39
1. Adam Orlow, Jamaica (NY) 45:43
2. Matthew Duffley, Bronxville 55:44
3. Rodman Rodriguez, (NJ) 56:21
1. Andrea Rogan, New York 49:22
2. Amy Wapshare, Goshen 49:42
3. Philippa McAfee, Glen Spey 54:18
1. John Sellstrom, Liberty 42:16
2. Erik Sellstrom, Liberty 43:28
3. Ken Kohanowski, Brooklyn 45:51
1. Annette Burke, Goshen 49:43
2. Kim Flynn, Wurtsboro 58:50
3. Gladys Nieves, Rock Hill 1:02
1. Richard White, New York 42:58
2. Doug Carter, Chester 46:24
3. Tom Manza, Monticello 51:29
1. Lorne MacDonald, Sussex 52:50
2. Phil Whittington, (NJ) 53:04
3. John Monchak, Tafton (PA) 53:45
Male 70 AND OVER
1. Burton Ledina, Monticello 1:32