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More than Mud - Matt "IronBeast" Dolitsky, Extreme Endurance Racer
More than Mud is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.
The Iron Beast Race Resume
- 3x Death Race Finisher (2 Skulls (including Winter DR) / 1 BIB Finish)
- 2x Spartan Ultra Beast Finisher
- 2x World's Toughest Mudder 50 mile Finisher
- IRONMAN Louisville (140.6) Finisher (13:36:08)
- IRONMAN 70.3 x2 Finisher
- GORUCK Challenge x2 Finisher
- 50 mile ultramarathon Finisher (10:00:35)
- IronBeast 24 hour Challenge Finisher (54 miles)
You've crushed some of the most challenging endurance events on the planet. What appeals to you about these races?
The #1 thing that appeals to me about participating in extreme endurance races is proving to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to do. I can set a goal, create my own training plan, and conquer the event. My goal is to FINISH the most extreme races or events one at a time and push to the next level. I love the adrenaline rush of the unknown with a lot of events like the Death Race or the Spartan Ultra Beast. I like knowing there will be extreme obstacles or challenges ahead that even the most talented obstacle racers fear and charging at them with confidence. Trusting that my training and mental toughness will get me through. I'm headed into my 3rd Death Race this year and I have the following races / events planned: GORUCK Selection, IRONMAN Florida, Bill Floyd's 8 Mile Swim, and World's Toughest Mudder. I'm really excited about the future of The Endurance Society.
What was your early athletic background? Did you grow up doing anything in particular that you think helped prepare you for these events physically?
Growing up, I played Lacrosse and Ice Hockey. I played in some decent leagues and one season in Canada. I didn't accomplish what I would have liked to in Ice Hockey. I love both of those sports because they are fast paced and are physical. I am more focused now than I was back then.
What has been one of your most memorable moments of triumph during your races?
I will always remember crossing the finish line at the inaugural Spartan Ultra Beast. It was not only my FIRST Spartan Race but my first extreme obstacle race and finishing it felt like a huge accomplishment for me as an athlete. I was part of "The Lost Tribe" and added about 5 miles to the course by taking a wrong turn. There's too many more to mention but finishing IRONMAN Louisville, Winter and Summer Death Races, and 24 hours at two World's Toughest Mudders has really had a major impact on my life for the positive.
What has been one of your most memorable moments of suck and despair during your races?
The first year that I competed in World's Toughest Mudder (2012), after completing 4 laps of the 10 mile course, I decided to take a nap in my tent. I slept for a couple hours in my cold wet suit bundled in blankets. When I woke up, I felt miserable and it was freezing. I was shivering and irritable. I felt like I couldn't go on. I was on the verge of quitting. I felt like crying because I felt like I failed myself. I pulled out my cell phone and saw text after text and Facebook posts encouraging me. That was the mental push I needed and went back out on the course for another lap achieving my goal of 24 hours and 50 miles. That was a huge mental breakthrough for me. That was the closest I ever came to quitting an event. I overcame and realized the power of the mind.
How do you mentally prepare for your most difficult events. Do you have pre-race rituals?
The best way of mentally preparing for an event is properly physically training for the event. Once I know I am physically trained for the event then I become mentally confident for the event. It's confidence not cockiness. All these events will kick your ass but confidence gets you to the start line. Your training gets you to the finish line. Usually, a week or two before an event, I endlessly watch YouTube videos of previous events of its type. Then, I'll go on easy runs and visualize myself participating in the event. I'll think about gear, the course, and my nutrition plan. Oh, I also listen to angry rap music.
What advice would you give another OCR athlete who would like to take on an ultra-endurance challenge for the first time?
I tell people that finishing races happens long before race day. By that, I mean that if you properly train for an event, you can be confident in finishing it. Also, push your limits but don't be unrealistic. Too many people sign up for 100 milers and never attempted a 50 miler. Then they DNF at 45 miles and wonder what happened. There's a process to accomplishing extreme races and it begins with extreme training. Too many people want titles without the work to get there. It takes time, dedication, consistency, and prioritization. You have to be passionate and want it. It has to be something that makes you truly happy in a sick way. If you cannot stay happy, strong minded, and focused in an extreme event, you will eventually quit.
So, what's next for you?
I plan to finish the most extreme races known to man. Later this year I will participate in the following events: Team Death Race, IRONMAN Florida (140.6), Bill Floyd's 8 Mile Swim, GORUCK Selection, World's Toughest Mudder. My dream race is the NORSEMAN Extreme Triathlon in Norway.
Lastly, I'd like to thank MudGear and give a shout out to my sponsors: VPX & VPX Team Xtreme, Mud + Adventure, AL1VE Magnetics, Reload Fitness, Bondi Band, and X-1 Audio.
Kick some ass this weekend at the Team Death Race ‘Iron Beast’!
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