Matt Burress, Good Eggs’ most welcoming burrito slinger, will ride 100 miles this weekend, and he’ll have the memory of a young boy with him as inspiration every mile of the way.
Burress has been training for the Peninsula Century Ride and raising money for the Go Bo foundation, our official charity partner. When ride director Brian Fitzgerald called him to gauge his interest in riding for charity, Burress jumped at the chance.
“It’s a great organization, I’m a friend of the family, and I wanted to ride the Peninsula Century,” Burress explained. “Being able to do it and use it for a great cause is even better.”
Burress hasn’t gotten in as many miles on the bike this summer as he’d like, but it certainly hasn’t been due to laziness. The McNally Smith College (Minn.) graduate spent the summer training for the Wasau Marathon with his younger brother Peter. How’d that go?
Well, not too bad by normal standards. Burress ran his first marathon in 3:19, while his brother finished in 3:14. Most of us would be thrilled with that time, but Burress has his sights set on Boston, and when he hit the wall at mile 21 he knew he wasn’t going to hit the 3:05 mark he needed to qualify.
That marathon time is remarkable, but there’s something else I should mention about the 23 year-old Burress. Just two years ago he tipped the scales at 240 pounds! He had never run so much as a 5k, and in fact, had never even played organized sports in high school.
Matt Burress in 2011 and earlier this year.
“I was music full-time, all-time,” he says.
But in late 2011 he decided to start watching his diet, starting with weight watchers. Then around New Year’s Day of 2012 he took up running to speed up the process and the weight started coming off quickly.
In May of 2012 he ran the Nicolet Bay 5k, finishing in 19:32, good for 6th overall. That would have been enough for a lot of folks, but Burress kept running. In 2013 he returned to Peninsula State Park, this time the run the Door County Half Marathon, now down to a svelt 165 pounds. He finished 70th overall in 1:36:26.
“To go from clinical obesity to where I am now is incredibly rewarding,” he says. “For 20 years music was my life, and it’s still a big part of it, but endurance fitness has become bigger. I want to become a certified personal trainer and help other people make the same change. I remember how crappy I felt before, and I feel so great now. I was stuffing myself with junk food and it made me a hyperactive, obnoxious kid. Now I’m calmer, I’m able to hold an adult conversation.”
Burress has raised $350 so far, but is aiming for $500 to support a cause well alligned with his own personal transformation.
“Now that health is such a big part of my life, I want to help other people improve theirs,” he says. “Go Bo is a great connection, helping kids get healthy.”
He says he has never been comfortable raiising money before, asking people for donations, but this time it hasn’t been hard.
“This is such an important cause that I don’t care, I’m gonna ask, and I’m gonna badger you,” he says.