“Running enthusiast impacting lives thru the running culture.”
Matthew Green leads by example. Known as Matt among his peers, Matt strives everyday to encourage physical activity by developing events that bring the community together, running daily to inspire his peers, and co-creating a fitness group that has run through the District’s neighborhoods – literally!
Raised and educated in Washington D.C.’s Ward 4, Matthew is eager to give back to the city that gave him so much. In an effort to inspire a fun, healthy lifestyle in D.C., Matt co-founded District Running Collective (DRC), an urban running crew that elevates running as a sport while positively impacting the community. Through DRC, Matt has successfully created successful events that show residents that getting healthy can be fun. Along with the weekly run group that has attracted 100+ athletes weekly of all levels to hit the pavement, Matt has also created several unique events including a midnight run though H Street Corridor and a 5k in Southeast in partnership with the Broccoli City Festival. Matt has also used the run group to raise money for scholarships and non-profits. From working with the DCPD to ensure safe running to helping small, local businesses gain exposure by using them as meet up locations, Matt is committed to bettering all of Washington, D.C.
When he isn’t lacing up his sneakers for a run, Matt is honing his graphic design skills as a Visual Information Specialist for the federal government. He obtained his Bachelor’s of Science in Graphic Communications System from North Carolina A&T State University.
What was growing up like for you?
Matt: I grew up in Washington, D.C. and I went to Dematha Catholic High School. I was always creative and into art. My mom and dad were two hardworking individuals and definitely made it a priority to give my brother and I a good education.They both had full time jobs and also did something entrepreneurial on the side. Creativity and hard work are two of those little things that I took from my parents.
How did District Running Collective get started?
Matt: DRC started back in 2013. It was me and three of my close friends, Collin, Chaz, and Taylor. At the time, we had just graduated from North Carolina A&T and we were all adjusting to our new “adult” lifestyles. I was turning 26 and I wanted to do something different with a fitness aspect for my birthday. My boys were already fitness enthusiasts and I had seen these running clubs that were popping up all over the world, except I wasn’t seeing it in D.C. I thought it would be dope to do a 5K at midnight and was hoping maybe 25 people would show up. We partnered with Avery’s on H St. and put it out on Instagram and Eventbrite, and we have over 100 people show up that night to run. We called that initial run "Midnight on Mars."
How did you guys scale the DRC movement going?
Matt: We started asking, “How do we get into things that people already do and then put a spin on it?” We had a pool party run at Capital Skyline called "No Lifeguard on Duty" and a few others that were successful. We ran into the challenge of not just throwing events but creating a movement that people could be a part of. In 2014, we started the weekly runs in the dead of winter. It was tough, but we looked at consistently overcoming challenges together as a way to really build community.
What’s the mission of DRC?
Matt: DRC is a D.C. crew, so we’re all about promoting fitness and motivation for people to run in the DMV area. In all honesty, we want to make running “cool” in an organic way. Creating a social running community and inspiring people as influencers.
What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started DRC?
Matt: Preparation! I didn’t know it was going to be so much work doing all the things behind the scenes. I would definitely say I wish I knew how to prepare things on the back end. Knowing there were going to be meetings for DRC and then balancing stuff with my full time.
How do you balance your Full-Time JOB and your Company?
Matt: My full-time is a graphic designer for the government and I really try to get into brand marketing with my passion. Balancing DRC and the full-time is super tough because it’s not like a side job, I can’t put half of my energy into either one. It’s like two full time jobs, but if you want something you just have to do it! It’s going to take hard work and consistency, week in, week out.
What’s the best part about being an entrepreneur?
Matt: I would say being able to take a small idea and watching it grow into something. That initial thought and the end product being extremely great, or it could be a failure, but I just enjoy the creative process and working towards an end goal. It’s super special.
What is your passion and when did you know?
Matt: Affecting people in a positive way. And I didn’t really know what it meant to affect someone until I started DRC. I have the opportunity to affect people through storytelling, or having someone who’s never run in their life finish a marathon. Understanding that our movement is what inspired them to get out and run, and then they finish with tears in their eyes saying, “You changed my life.” I mean, it’s incredible. Seeing people in the community become better versions of themselves, It took things to another level for me.
Where do you see DRC in five years?
Matt: Definitely hope to have a bigger impact on the city. Have our own official race in D.C. and keep growing our membership into a progressive community. Oh, and continue to expand on the travel aspect to different parts of the world.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your career?
Matt: It goes back to the idea creation. I’ve had a clothing brand before that failed, but it was an experience that I used to transition into something else. The challenge is dealing with failures and being able to keep going. Starting a business and it may not work out the way that you want it to and then redoing the whole process. It’s tough sometimes to get over the past but you gotta hit the “Reset Button” and continue to move forward.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who want to build a brand?
Matt: I would say draw inspiration from anywhere that you can, but don’t copy. There’s nothing new under the sun. No matter what industry you’re in, you should immerse yourself into that space and learn as much as you can about the people that are there. Travel because that will teach you how people around the world are doing different things.
What steps should someone take to start their business?
Matt: Having that initial idea, brainstorming, working with the right people. Selecting the right business partners is a very important decision. Some say it’s best to work with friends, some say it’s best to work colleagues, but I say as long as the communication is there and everyone is putting in the work than I don’t think it really matters. It’s all about the end goal!
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