Rory Closz & Alana Matyas-Brower Certified RRCA Level 1 Coaches for Run Muskegon
Meet Rory Cloz! Rory is a lifelong West Michigan resident, growing up in Norton Shores and currently living in Nims Neighborhood. He entered the running world through the avenue of cycling, and has learned a ton about the sport of running through all the helpful athletes at Run Muskegon. Before joining Run Muskegon it was tough to even think about running more than a 5K, but to date Rory has completed numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, and marathon distances as well as triathlons of Sprint, Olympic and 70.3 distances. His next challenge comes in September when he will compete in his first full-distance triathlon at IRONMAN Wisconsin. Outside of training, Rory spends his time with his partner Sid and their pets Mira the dog and Jesse the cat.
Rory works at Mona Shores Middle School where he is the director of choirs as well as assistant coach for the Cross Country team. He has also coached Track and Field, and regularly directs the middle school musical. Helping young musicians and athletes reach their full potential is a passion, and he is grateful to have the opportunity to call it his career. Recently receiving an RRCA Level 1 Coaching Certificate will help him with this passion. 1. How long have you been running? I started running in 2017 with Couch-to-5K, mostly on the treadmill at a local gym but it didn't stick until I linked up with Run Muskegon in 2018. 2. Do you race? If so, what is your most memorable race experience? Yes! The Detroit Marathon in 2019 was a blast! Being able to run across the bridge into Canada, then back through the tunnel into Michigan was one of the most memorable race experiences to date. Being able to run the race with my partner Sid was also super fun, even though she smoked me on the course! 3. Ever run in a costume? If so, what? Not really; I've run the Shamrock Shuffle while wearing a borrowed green shirt... does that count? 4. Only running shoes for me are... Saucony. Right now I'm hooked on the Endorphin Speed 2s. 5. What is your worst running-related injury? Leading up to my marathon in 2019 I got some wicked shin splints. I was stuck doing easy elliptical workouts for about two weeks while I recovered, but I really didn't take enough time off. Best advice any time you have an injury is just allow your body time to heal, as frustrating as it may be. 6. Hot or cold weather runner? Cold. Cold. Definitely cold! You can always put layers on, but you can only take so much off while staying decent. 7. What is your motivation for running? Definitely a stress relief and a brain break. It gives me a chance to "unplug" from everything else going on in my life, and gives me a chance to hang out with some pretty great people at the same time! 8. If I didn't run I.... would have to find another way to spend my energy, and I'd probably get in trouble a lot more often than I currently do! 9. I can't run without... random songs popping in and out of my head. It's seriously a problem. Most recently it's been "Long Hot Summer Day" by John Hartford. Other classic earworms running through my brain have included: "Tequila" by The Champs; "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" by Croby, Stills & Nash; and "Buddy Holly" by Weezer. 10. What's the farthest you have run at one time? Last September I ran 30 miles to celebrate my 30th birthday. I ran to some of my favorite Muskegon locations and set up an "aid station" at home so I could resupply and head back out. It was a lot of fun, but I was whooped by the end of it.
Meet Alana Matyas-Brower! Alana is a West Michigan native who has lived in Muskegon for just over a decade. She started running in 2005 and has raced everything from 5k to 50k. Most of her every day running is on the road but she loves to run trails at Hoffmaster State Park. Alana is the founder of Run Muskegon and has been running every Wednesday night with the group since it originated back in 2011. Alana received her RRCA level I certified coach certificate in 2020 with the goal of offering quality training for first-time runners of Run Muskegon. When not running, Alana is the Director of Retail Affairs at Pigeon Hill Brewing Company. She has a genuine love for Muskegon and for making this community a better place for everyone to work, live and play. 1. How long have you been running? Since my sophomore year of college. 2. Do you race? If so, what is your most memorable race experience? Yep! I just ran the Bayshore Marathon and am currently training for the Chicago Marathon. My favorite race to this day is the Chicago Marathon in 2021! It was my first road marathon and I was running it solo so my goals were to finish, and finish feeling good. On race day, family and friends spent all morning running all over the city to cheer me on. My husband bought a gigantic Pikachu balloon that made them stand out from the crowd. I’d never seen a city that energetic for a race! All 26.2 miles of the course were PACKED with people cheering. It was a lot of fun and it meant a lot that people came all the way to Chicago just to cheer me on! Chicago Marathon is what has inspired me to keep training for the marathon distance so that one day I can run Boston! 3. Ever run in a costume? If so, what? I dressed up as a sugar skull for the Dia de Los Muertos 5k that used to be here in Muskegon! 4. Only running shoes for me are…Brooks Ghost. I have others. I keep trying others. But dangit, I always go back to ‘em! 5. What is your worst running-related injury? **cringe*** plantar fasciitis. It took months to recover because I was too stubborn to just REST. It loves to flare up once the snow flies and the footing gets sucky. As soon as I feel it, I immediately take some time off from running, wear the boot while sleeping and get a new pair of shoes for everyday wear (I’m guilty of wearing old running shoes to putz around in). It usually goes away after a few days and then I ease back into running. 6. Hot or cold weather runner? Right in the middle! 55-70 degrees, sunny with a light breeze. Which is only Michigan weather like 20-30 days out of the year, so cold weather it is. *ugh* 7. What is your motivation for running? I’ve got a couple reasons- it’s my “me” time. It helps me destress. It keeps me in shape and it helps keep away the winter blues. 8. If I didn't run I.... would have a lot more free time? I’d just be playing another sport- tennis, soccer, biking or I’d get my butt back in the pool and do some laps. 9. I can't run without...sunglasses. 10. What's the farthest you have run at one time? Trail 50K