Matt Roberts grew up as the brother of a talented athlete, and felt a sense of inferiority when his athletic achievements didn’t live up to it.
Although Matt supported his brother Andrew every step of the way, Matt dropped out of Columbus North High School, where he was a swimmer, and was home educated for the last two years. He turned to drug and alcohol abuse that led to a decade-long addiction from which he almost never survived.
Another decade after Matt was able to beat his addiction, Andrew was preparing for his third deployment to Afghanistan in 2018. Matt decided to get serious about fitness and started his fitness journey as a way to connect with Andrew.
“I wanted to struggle with him while he was posting,” Matt said. “I started going to the gym. I had a friend who was also recovering, and he held me accountable.”
On October 14, Matt, 38, plans to run a 100-mile run through the hills of northern Tennessee and southern Kentucky to help spread awareness of mental health and addiction recovery. “No Business 100” begins and ends in Jamestown, Tennessee.
Matt’s fitness journey started with lifting weights, getting up at 4:30 in the morning some days to work out. He shared his progress with Andrew, who encouraged him to “keep on”.
In 2019, Matt began training for the Indianapolis 500 mini marathon. He ran a 13.1-mile race in May.
“When I finished, I immediately felt like, ‘I want more,'” he said.
So Matt signed up for the Mill Race Marathon and ran a 26.2-mile race in September. Since then, his runs have become longer.
Matt ran the 50-mile race at Brown County State Park in April 2020. He raced the 100-mile race in April 2021 in Beijing, Illinois, and took about 37 hours to complete.
“I had no idea what I made,” he said.
In September 2021, Matt ran the Mill Race half marathon, and then a month later, he did the Knobstone 50K in Brown County. He ran a 50-mile race last April in Georgia and paced a runner in the last 34 miles of the 100-mile race on August 20 in Colorado.
Along the way, Matt became connected through a friend with New Shoe Day, a non-profit organization and community he runs that focuses on positive mental health, creating connection and community while empowering people through movement.
New Shoe Day supports organizations such as the Athlead Track and Field Program, which seeks to promote societal change through the development of young athletes and leaders through track and field; and the Indianapolis and Monumental Kids Movement, a track and field program that helps support children’s mental health, running, and fitness.
“It’s really a mental health movement and running,” he said. “The money we raise, we coordinate with organizations that share our values for mental health and movement.”
Matt’s journey has led him a long way since he entered a 12-step recovery program, a detox at the former Faribanks Hospital in Indianapolis and an extensive local outpatient program called Steps to Addiction Recovery (SOAR).
“It took me a long time from there to find some kind of fit,” he said. “A lot of it was finding myself learning how to be a productive member of society. From my junior year in high school to the age of 20 or 23, I didn’t really mature much.”
Matt attended IUPUC and received his MBA from Indiana University in 2011. He is now married with three children and works for the consulting firm “eimagine” located on the northwest side of Indianapolis, although he has worked from home since the COVID pandemic began in year 2020.
Now, he died in a happy place, both physically and mentally.
“I combine my passion for running with my passion for mental health,” he said.