Murrysville athlete runs obstacle course for charity — 7 times |

Murrysville athlete runs obstacle course for charity — 7 times

Submitted photo
Above, Matthew Scoletti waits to get going at the 2014 World's Toughest Mudder competition. Scoletti completed the course seven times.
Submitted photo
Matthew Scoletti, on the right, waits to begin the World's Toughest Mudder competition in the Las Vegas desert.
Submitted photo
Matthew Scoletti did 35 miles during the seven times he ran through the World's Toughest Mudder obstacle course.

Most people would balk at the idea of making their way through the physical crucible of a Tough Mudder obstacle course.

Matthew Scoletti didn’t balk — and then he ran the course another six times in a row.

Scoletti, a Murrysville native and 2002 Franklin Regional High School graduate, participated in the “World’s Toughest Mudder,” a five-mile obstacle course set up in the desert near Las Vegas, in which participants see not just who can finish the course, but how many times they can finish it.

Scoletti, 31, made it to seven.

“I set a goal of five times,” he said. “I wanted to do over 30 (miles), and then the ultimate goal was 50 (miles). But anything over 30 was going to let me walk away with a smile on my face.”

He paused a moment before adding, ‘Actually, that’s not true. I definitely wasn’t smiling after it was over. But I’m smiling now.”

Not only did Scoletti surpass his course goal, he surpassed the fundraising goal he’d set for the nonprofit group Young Adult Cancer Support.

By taking pledges in advance of the trip to Las Vegas, Scoletti was able to raise more than $10,000 for the charity, which recently received approval to provide grants that will help fund medical care for children affected by cancer. His fiancée — leukemia survivor Stephanie Samolovitch — is director of support service for the charity, and Scoletti said her battle was one of two things that inspired him to take part in the event.

The other was On Target Living CEO Chris Johnson, who lit a fitness-fueled fire under Scoletti, who ramped up his workouts after hearing one of Johnson’s motivational speeches and shortly thereafter earned the titles of Pittsburgh Physique Athlete of the Year in 2012 and Mr. Pittsburgh 2013.

Scoletti and Johnson became friends, and On Target Living sponsored Scoletti’s participation in the Vegas obstacle course.

In the months leading up to the competition, Scoletti — who now lives in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood — increased the intensity of his workouts.

“Stephanie and I went to a few state parks and camped out because that’s what you do during the event,” he said. “So I was doing trail runs and giving myself ‘obstacles’ to overcome about every quarter mile.”

The training paid off: After 25 miles, Scoletti said, he felt as though he’d just started the race.

“I was feeling really good,” he said.

But as he and his partner started the sixth lap, a sandstorm came whipping through, and the temperature began to plummet.

“I think I realized then why they have you sign the release form,” Scoletti said. “I basically did a good bit of that sixth lap with my left eye closed because it was full of sand. So hitting 35 miles under those conditions is a great accomplishment, and I consider it a great success.”

Before what would end up being their final lap, Scoletti said, he’d pushed his body about as far as it would go.

“My knees, they were done,” he said. “But I looked down at my bib, and I had written ‘YACS (Young Adult Cancer Support)’ on it. And knowing that we were raising money for the charity was the only thing that got me through it.”

So will he head to Vegas for next year’s “World’s Toughest Mudder”?

“My mom reads the paper, so I think I have to say, ‘No,’” he said. “But if you ask me again in six months, it might be a different answer.”

Patrick Varine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2365 [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.