WASHINGTON, July 24, 2012 — Runner Matt Scherer “quits” for a living. Before promising to “quit,” he barely made enough money to survive as he pursued a career as a professional runner. Nowadays he guarantees to quit running once he is on the track, and he makes enough to live comfortably.
Before becoming a professional quitter, Matt’s career had been highly successful throughout his college years and at the beginning of his professional career. However, it is extremely difficult to be a professional runner and make enough money to live. The majority of runners fall into this category and are forced to find additional work to pay for bills and living expenses.
But Matt was exceptionally good at pacing times and relaxing runners and he saw an opportunity for making a living. The bigger the race, the bigger the payoff, so the most elite runners require a “rabbit” to pace them during the race to meet certain marks.
A rabbit is an individual who paces the races and steps off the track just before the race is complete, never receiving an official time and always guaranteed a disqualification. Matt became the runner of choice to pace these professional runners, based on his positive attitude and ability to hit marks on the dot. He is one of very few that are considered “professional rabbits.”
Matt has been flown all over the world and been invited to numerous practices just to pace a race or workout. In track, every second counts and Matt can promise a runner almost a perfect time every time.
Recently in Europe, Matt paced a 50.5 split to qualify four people for the Olympic team. Matt also paced David Rudisha, who has run the fastest time on US soil ever. David asked for a 49 second split and Matt was able to provide a 49.09. He is able to guarantee a time that is within 1/100th of a second of what is requested of him.
So while Scherer is in the background, he is right up front creating history for US track and field. He gets no glory. He gets no recognition. But he does get paid more pacing others than running the race himself.
Is he the best athlete we will never know? Or is he making the best of his mastery in the pace of life? Perhaps quitting should be valued more.
Keep up with Matt and all of his endeavors here: @mscherer
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