As a community-based running store, we like to get to know all of our customers, along with all of their achievements and goals. We also happen to have a really great team that helps make sure we do what we do best. Upon reflection, in the midst of a morning group run, we had a thought, what if our customers got to know our team members like we got to know our customers? So after a few cups of coffee and maybe a donut or two we sat down with a few of our team members and asked them some questions on important topics like how they got into running, pizza toppings, and their worst running story. Now we officially invite you to meet the Confluence Running Team, we tend to think they are pretty great!
Matt: Owner, Community Outreach aficionado
Matthew Gawors a Middletown native and owner of Confluence Running, currently resides in Binghamton New York. When not darting between the three Confluence Running stores, with his trusty dog Osielle by his side you can find him at Binghamton University where he serves as the Aquatics Director and teaches classes within the Health and Wellness Department. Matt is avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, and former semi-pro triathlete. You may catch him at your local 5k snapping pictures or leading the latest couch to 5k program.
CR: How and why did you begin running?
Matt: It all started during the Delaware River Run 5k in Port Jervis, NY in the Hudson Valley. This was my first ever 5k. I had been a soccer player and discovered that I was a pretty good runner. I kept up with it because of the inspiration from my uncle. My uncle, Chip Bohem from Chenango Forks, NY, had a shot at the Olympic Trials in the Marathon back in the 1980's. Unfortunately, the United States boycotted that Olympics and his chances were shot. It was inspirational to hear about his en-devours and his stories of running and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.
CR: What does a typical day look like for you and are you currently working on anything?
Matt: As the owner of a running company you learn very quickly that you start losing time to run. Your 2-hour long runs quickly turn into 45 minute running breaks, which quickly turn into 2-4 miles sqeezed into the last possible moment before bed. I never truly live the same day twice. After teaching swimming at Binghamton University in the morning, I'll typically run in the Nature Preserve with my dog Oiselle for 40-50 minutes. And then it's off to the shop tasks of the day. One day it may being paying the bills. Others days may include construction work. Others: facilitation a beginner running program. My favorite work days include being a photographer for races.
CR: If you were a new edition to a crayon box what color would you be and why?
Matt: Turbulent Green: This color has a forest-like color with slightly lighter green inclusions throughout for variations. My favorite color is green and I never know what my day will be like
CR:Tell us about one of your worst runs ever? You define what makes it "the worst"
Matt: I did a 7 mile run with my girlfriend Jenna. This was during the winter. I only wore wind resistant pants (not thermal). This did not bode well for the sensitive body parts. The pain was immense and we had to walk and stop multiple times in order for me to handle the pain. What made it the worst was it took so much time for me to achieve a simple 7 mile run. There's no problem with walking, but I felt wasteful for how much time I spent during that run just warming myself up.
CR: Trails, Track or Road Races? What is your favorite distance and why?
Matt: Can I answer "it depends" or is this cheating? Trails: I'm a climber. 2 miles, 2000 ft of evaluation would be an ideal race for me to win. Track: 4x800m & triple jump | I just can't brush off the nostalgic feeling of comradery during my track & field days in High School & College.
CR: You are going on a running vacation, What are the 3- 5 items (hopefully something we sell) you bring?
Matt: Actually a real running vacation: I took a cruise in 2015 to 5 of the Caribbean islands. I had the goal of running on each one of the islands. I ran in the mountains, the sands, the beaches, and the prairies. I was able to experience all the sights of a city through running on each island. I did have one of the locals on Curacao turn to me and say in a deep voice, "Don't be alone." But for all of those runs I took the On Cloudflow, had a pair of Tifosi sunglasses, a 1-20oz Nathan belt bottle, a set of Aftershokz wireless headphones, and of course a Garmin Triathlon watch.
CR: If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?
Matt: My Father who passed away from Covid-19 in May 2020.
CR: Who is your running idol?
Matt: I'm going to have to answer Sheila Taormina | Gold Medalist in Swimming (1996) | 6th place in Olympic Triathlon (2000 AND 2004) | Olympic Modern Pentathlon 19th place (2008) | She was the smallest swimmer since 1920 to win an Olympic gold medal and was considered WAY past her peak to compete in the Olympics in 1996 (let alone 2000, 2004, & 2008 and competed in 3 distinct sports over the course of 4 Olympiads.
CR: What is your favorite movie/book?
Matt: Favorite Book: Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix Favorite Movie: James Bond 007: Goldeneye
CR: What do you like most about your job?
Matt: I love being able to see the support and positive change that Confluence Running brings to our communities. Our mission it to improve our communities' health physically, emotionally, and financially and it brings a smile to my face when I hear that we continue to provide toward that vision.
CR: What is your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional?
Matt: Continued perseverance. If someone told me in January that I would have to lay off my entire staff, go solo while the community was in lockdown, open a new business during a pandemic, purchase a building and move an existing business during the busy season, develop a new educational portal, execute crisis online collegiate fitness classes, provide care to my mother and father throughout his physical rehabilitation, and provide comfort to him and my mother as he passed away from a pandemic virus; and do this all within 6 months, I would've laugh hard. I'm proud of my perseverance and certainly could not have done all of the above without the support of Confluence Running's staff, my girlfriend Jenna, my family, and my friends.
CR: What time of day do you like to run?
CR:What is your favorite post-run meal?
Matt: This has definitely got to be a Strawberry-Banana smoothie. Frozen Strawberries & bananas with cream, cinnamon, and chia seeds.