Besides being world class tech, sales marketing professionals and beyond, Stratodesk employees are also people – complete with a range of hobbies as diverse as the people that work here. We love it when our employees share their adventures and accomplishments with one another, especially when those involve getting healthy.
Recently, our rockstar software developer, Rafal Matuszczak, competed in an incredible 3 day race, the total of which was 40 miles running up and down mountainsides in the great Oregon wilderness.
Rafal’s History of Running
Rafal has been running competitively for over 10 years, and his accolades include having placed ninth in mountain running at the Junior World Championships, Albania 2011. He also competed in college (top 40 in NCAA XC championships among division 2 schools) and recently completed a marathon in an astounding 1:06:50.
“I like running because it brings a routine to my life” says Rafal. “It’s a one of those sports that requires persistence and a well thought-through plan to achieve results. You can’t simply run from time to time and expect to get better at it. You have to plan ahead for everything: get enough sleep, think about what you eat and so on. Running is also a great way to meet new people and see new places.”
Rafal also adds that running through the mountains beats hiking as you see more than you possibly could walking.
Leading Up to the Three Day Race
Running 40 miles over three days is not something that just happens. It’s something you have to work towards. And Rafal is no stranger to hard work. “Making time to prepare for a major race does take time, which is one of the reasons I love working at Stratodesk” says Rafal. “Everyone at Stratodesk is really encouraging about meeting goals, and being able to work remotely and flexibly allows me to hit the trail as often as I need to.”
It’s Rafal’s daily, intense running regiment that keeps him prepared for incredible feats of endurance. Rafal runs 70 miles a week on average. A particularly special part of his running routine is to go on frequent runs with his wife. Running is a passion that they both share, and they are lucky enough to live near plenty of trails and mountain passes ideal for whittling away a few hours with a good run.
The Day Of the Race
When the day of the Oakridge Triple Summit Challenge in Oakridge, OR came, Rafal had few expectations. Although running is part of his daily life, it’s been a while since Rafal has competed in any mountain running, so he was at a bit of a disadvantage going into the race.
“Due to the pandemic I’ve hardly raced this year” says Rafal. “I haven’t had any chances to really test myself, and I didn’t practice very heavily. Nonetheless, I was really excited to come back to trail running after not doing it for years. I knew that due to a lack of proper training I might be lacking the strength needed for steep inclines. That’s why I focused mostly on the downhill sections which seemed to be a good tactic given my current shape.”
Day one was a 20k race, day two a 15k, and finally, on Sunday, a 30k race. Every day was its own unique challenge thanks to the fact that each race was held on a different mountain peak. All together, the 40 mile race carried a hefty 8500 ft elevation change. Rafal took first place in both the 20k and 30k, and a third place in the 15k.
“Unfortunately, the steep incline on the 15k race during the second day was just a little too much for me, given I’ve had such a long break from mountain running” says Rafal. “Still, despite this, I was able to place 3rd.”
Despite winning the majority of races, the third place in the 15k was enough to place Rafal in second place overall, but we’re still impressed! Overall he finished second, missing the first place spot by only five seconds. Talk about a tight race!
Learn more about Stratodesk employees in future employee highlights!