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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Oregon native Matt Folk couldn’t have asked for a better day to run his first Boston Marathon.

A 1994 graduate of Clay High School, Folk happily made the long journey over the weekend from his current residence in Perrysburg to Beantown, where he was greeted by comfortable temperatures in the upper-40s and a much-needed tailwind.

“There was some talk leading up to the race that there would be a tailwind,” said Folk.  “It’s a point to point course, so everybody hopes you can get the tailwind instead of the headwind and we did, for the most part.”

Folk, 35, the two-time defending Toledo Glass City Marathon champion, finished his Boston Marathon debut in 2:34.52, placing 145th overall in the field of nearly 27,000 participants.MattFolk

Folk enjoyed the experience, but said he was actually a little disappointed with his performance.

“To be honest with you, I was a little disappointed.  I was hoping to run higher.  Everything went really well for the first half,” said Folk, who met his anticipated halfway point time of 1:10:10, “but the hills eventually took their toll.

“It was a rolling course — difficult to run. For some of the miles that were supposed to be downhill, you also had some uphill running. For example, a mile may be a 60 foot decline, but you may go down 80 (feet) and run uphill 20. ” 

Folk finished second place among hundreds of Ohioans, finishing just minutes behind Kam S. Lee of Middleburg Heights.

“I remember seeing that guy pass me at the end, but there’s not a whole lot you can do when your body is dead,” he said.

Leading up to the event Folk trained rigorously, running upwards of 100 miles a week.

“If I had to put one word on him — how to describe your son — I would say ‘honest,’” said Folk’s father, Bob.  “He has to run every day — whether the sun is shining or the wind is blowing — and he doesn’t make any excuses.  It’s the same with his job, his marriage, and everything else.”

Folk’s training routine began during his sophomore year of high school when he began running cross country for Clay.  He quickly caught on, and received All-Ohio honors his senior year, placing 10th overall in the state meet.

“In high school, I had tried a bunch of different sports and it wasn’t working out too well.  Finally, I ran into some of the guys that were on the [cross country] team one night and asked them about running cross country and went out for the first few days,” Matt said.

And, wouldn’t you know. Folk hasn’t stopped running since.

“It just ended up sticking and over the course of the years just snowballed more and more, where I was running more and more. Obviously, once you start experiencing success, you start enjoying it more,” Folk said.

As his times dropped, his talents caught the eyes of several area colleges and he accepted a track and cross country scholarship from Youngstown State University, where, in 1998, he became the university’s first male cross country athlete to compete in the NCAA Division I Cross Country National Championships. Folk finished in 77th place.

After graduating from Youngstown State in 1999 and working as an assistant coach on the cross country team (a title he would hold nine years, from 1999 to 2008), Folk worked in the accounting industry for nine months, then decided to go back to school for his masters’ degree.

It was during this time in Youngstown that Matt was introduced to Second Sole Athletic Footwear, a running specialty store, with many locations throughout Ohio.

“I went back to graduate school and all of my classes were at night, so I started working at Second Sole in Youngstown to earn a little extra money. It went really well, and even after I got my master’s, I kept working at the store and coaching at the university,” Folk said.

In 2008, Folk and his wife, Lindsay, a Fremont native, discussed moving back to the area from Youngstown and figured the best opportunity to do so would be opening a (Second Sole) store in the area — and they did.

Folk is the co-owner of the Second Sole franchise, located in Perrysburg’s Levis Commons, and is working towards acquiring complete control of the business.

“We’re mostly a running specialty store, but we do get into casual footwear, as well. For the most part, it’s mainly athletic footwear,” Folk said.

Folk, in the process of growing his business, is unsure if he will run in next year’s Boston Marathon, but is training for the upcoming Columbus Marathon in the fall. Matt won the event in 2009.

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