Date of Birth: 3/12/1990
Born: Woodstock, Vermont
Lives: Longmont, Colorado
Short Distance (1-6 miles)
Mid Distance (6-12 miles)
Long Distance (12+ miles)
OCR Coach: Ryan Kempson
Matt is one half of the most talented sibling pair in Obstacle Racing. Along with his brother, Ryan, they make-up the force known as the Kempson Brothers. Matt has a diverse and successful sports background Captaining his teams in High School Baseball, College Alpine Skiing and Semi-Pro Rugby. Although he is proficient across all OCR distances, Matt excels at short course formats that require explosive strength.
What was your first obstacle race and why did you do it?
2012 Spartan Super in New Jersey - Friends and family told me and my brother Ryan that we had to do it because it's exactly what we did every day growing up.
What drives you to compete?
I just love to compete. At ANYTHING. And OCR just happens to be one of the best ways for me to showcase my competitiveness.
If you could run a World Championship obstacle race anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’d like to be selfish and say Killington because I grew up on that mountain, but really the best location for a World Championship would be West Virginia. It’s got a perfect combination of single track, bushwhacking, and cross country running, plus it has potential to be one of the most spectator friendly venues of anywhere I've raced in the U.S.
What interesting fact do most fans of OCR not know about you?
I'd never run a single mile that wasn't punishment in Football for dropping a pass or missing a block until 2012.
Who is one of the OCR athletes you admire most and why?
Jesse Bruce. He's a hell of a competitor and an even better human being.
If you could design one workout that covers the most important skill areas in OCR, what would it look like?
For building OCR strength I would say the most beneficial workout you can do is a heavy kettlebell routine, centered around a high volume of swings. The hip and lower back strength that you’ll develop during this routine will help you more with heavy carries, tire flips, atlas lifts, etc than any amount of weighted bucket carries. Your grip endurance will also be naturally strengthened during the workout without having to implement a specific “grip strength” routine.
For running, I would say that fartlek runs are by far the best way to train for OCR, especially when performed on undulating and technical terrain. OCR is all about how well an athlete can transition between the use of different muscle groups and energy systems - this is something that cannot be trained by running steady-pace miles on a flat road or by climbing a steady pace/incline on a treadmill.
If you hadn't found OCR, in what sport(s) would you be competing?
Rugby or Extreme Skiing.
What advice do you have for people who want to get better in OCR?
Try new things as often as you can. This sport is too dynamic to be stubborn in your ways.