My Name is Matt Harrison. Six months ago, I set out to accomplish something I once considered impossible, now I am an Elite athlete.

Late 2017, at 34 years old, I found myself divorced, out of shape and satisfied with a familiar routine. I lacked hobbies, goals, and ambition. I didn’t know the feeling of pushing past my comfort zone. Life was passing me by. Feeling lost and alone, I turned to a friend who offered some wise words. He said, “Quit being a victim.” Through self-reflection, I realized the influence fear and doubt had on my daily decision-making. I was afraid to do anything unfamiliar or uncomfortable. More importantly-I was afraid to fail, afraid to lead, and afraid to strive for greatness. This realization awoke a burning desire to follow my passion and pursue fitness as a professional athlete.

This started with 3 commitments to myself:

  1. Be honest in personal assessments.
  2. Holding myself accountable.
  3. Surround myself with a positive community.

I competed in my first Spartan Race early March 2018. Starting training3 weeks prior, I had never run a race before, let alone 15 miles with obstacles. I was nervous and apprehensive to register for my first race but felt the time had come to face my fears and grow. My first race was a rude awakening. Lacking the strength and conditioning to complete the course at an elite level, I made a commitment to seek coaching and train harder every single day until my goal is reached. With a renewed perspective, I applied myself to the sport more than anything before. I no longer had the mindset of trying, but instead found the will to do what it takes, for as long as it takes.

In searching for coaches and accountability, I found much more. I found community and friends who took a serious interest in my success. I recognized limited beliefs that were keeping me from achieving my goals. I discovered friendships, family, and support when just a few months prior I felt alone and aimless. I learned to appreciate the journey and live in the moment. In the past 6 months, I climbed my first mountain, accomplished the largest elevation gain hike in North America, summited 11 peaks in under 24 hours and competed in 7 Spartan races finishing with2 Spartan podiums and qualifying for the 2018 Spartan Race World Championship.

I train hard as if I am the best in the world. At times I’m doubtful, tired, sore and even discouraged, but with a supportive team and my new-found mindset, I’ll never quit and continue to grow. Now 7 races into my Spartan career with an opportunity to race for the World Championship in September, I find myself in a position I could not have dreamed for myself just 6 months ago. Aside from physical strength and conditioning, I gained mental strength, wisdom, and relationships. Through fitness, I’m learning to live, love and appreciate the moment. Through fitness, I am taking back the reigns of my destiny.

To find out more about Matt’s story, check out our podcast episode How to Train Like an Elite Athlete, here.

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