Life goes by so fast and we often don’t have a chance to maintain friendships from our old school days, because we focus mainly on here and now, as well as on things which are currently important for us. It has also happened in my case, although I must admit that, quite a few times, I’ve been lucky enough recently to meet people I used to know in the past, the ones who I have fond memories of, memories of the times when the notion of problems was quite abstract for me, the moments which I’d really like to come back to again.
Not a long time ago, I was invited by a friend to like a fanpage in one of the social networking services, which had quite an enigmatic title ‘Biegiem po schodach’, which could be translated as ‘Running up the stairs’, I must admit that it really made my imagination run wild, that’s why I decided to check it out … and it was not without a smile on my face, as it turned out that we often don’t know how modest and extraordinary people we’re surrounded by and what amazing things they gain not only thanks to their talents, but also thanks to their passions, hard work and effort they put into things they do. So, to cut a long story short, my today’s interviewee is Mateusz Marunowski – a sportsman who through towerrunning makes his dreams come true and, in addition, he also gains quite good results. In this interview you’ll get to know a little bit more about the things he does, and about his plans for the future.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Mateusz: My name’s Mateusz Marunowski. I’ve lived in Jaworzno since I was born. I’m a firefighter by profession and I work for National Fire Service. I graduated from the Academy of Physical Education in Katowice and I have a degree in Physical Education and Safety Education, I also finished the Fire Service College of the State Fire Service in Cracow. Personally, I’m happily married and I’ve got two children Paulina and Jacob.
Passion Piece: Working for the Fire Service is a kind of mission during which you put your life at risk to help others. Why did you decide to earn a living in such a way?
Mateusz: I decided to do it for at least two reasons. First of all, I always wanted my work to be related to helping other people. I believe that firefighters really come to help by performing their duties well, and it’s really great. Secondly, it’s a kind of work which gives me stability, it was and still is an important issue for me. I wouldn’t like to attribute here any mission or vocation to myself. I just try to do my work well and I hope it is so. Making a decision to become a firefighter wasn’t easy for me. At that time I was finishing my licentiate studies in Physical Education and at the same time I was finishing my first year of Physiotherapy. I had to choose between Physiotherapy, which I had earlier attached my professional future with, and Fire Serivce. It was a difficult decision. Today, I don’t regret my choice.
Passion Piece: Which of your rescue operations do you find to be the most important? Have you ever faced any really dangerous situations during your service in the fire brigade?
Mateusz: I don’t remember such a rescue operation which I would find the most important. Of course, there are situations which are more memorable than others due to a number of reasons. Most of the times these are rescue operations which were serious, unusual … or funny. When it comes to dangerous situations in the firefighter’s work, they are just an occupational hazard. Writing about risky situations I’m not thinking about scenes from American movies, what I rather mean is that during a rescue operation everything can happen and even a seemingly trivial matter can occur to be hazardous. Of course, I also faced such dangers. At the time being, for half a year, I have been working as a dispatcher, so my job is no longer related to such risky situations.
Passion Piece: Being a firefighter you need to be fit. How do you take care of your physical fitness?
Mateusz: That’s true that a firefighter should have a good physical condition and should take care of it regularly. Firefighters usually have some time during the service, which they should devote to different physical and fitness activities. I don’t have any problems with that. Since I can remember I have always done various sports disciplines. It helps for sure. However, no one is perfect. Despite the fact that I train a lot and I’m pretty fit, it has happened that I lacked strength.
Passion Piece: You must admit that the sports discipline which has become your passion isn’t very popular in Poland. How did you start your adventure with towerrunning?
Mateusz: I started my adventure with towerrunning with the Altus Cup Run in Katowice. There was a special category for firefighters, so I decided to take part in this competition. It was in 2012. I remember that I felt awful, the regeneration after the run lasted really long. I had the 13th place back then. I didn’t catch the bug, but whenever I had a chance I participated in the Altus Cup in Katowice. The situation changed in 2016 due to the European Championships in towerrunning organized by ‘Rondo1’ in Warsaw. I had a thought that I’d like to participate in this run and I managed to do so. Thanks to a very good result and the 3rd place in the Polish Championships (Altus Cup Run 2015) I received a so called ‘wild card’. My performance in the European Championships didn’t belong to the most successful ones, as I was placed in the top 40. However, it was a great beginning of my adventure. I started looking for different contests of this type. I bought a license in the Towerrunning Club. I started participating in various contests and slowly I moved up in the world ranking. Everything happened very slowly, but the more I got interested in this particular sport, the more possibilities I noticed.
Passion Piece: We already know that both in your profession and in your sports discipline you need to have a fit body. What kind of exercises does a good preparation for towerrunning demand?
Mateusz: To do well at towerrunning you need a good physical training which means that you need to run regularly on the staircases. Of course, a general preparation, as well as fitness and strength preparation are very important. Additionally to that I run a lot. I do warm ups, interval runs and continuous runs. To all these activities I also try to include the whole-body training and strength exercises.
Passion Piece: What are your biggest accomplishments? What are you going to surprise us with?
Mateusz: The biggest success was getting a promotion to the finals of the Towerrunning World Championships in Changsha, China. I did quite well there and I was 13th. The biggest satisfaction I’ve ever gained was being 1st in the SkyRun Munster in Germany in 2017 and defending my title a year later in 2018. Thanks to this huge success I gained a certain degree of confidence that I can win even while competing against the best runners. A great honor for me was taking part in the Eiffel Tower run. Not everyone can participate in this competition, as you need to go through a special verification. I had also an opportunity to take part in the World Championships in Taipei. I was 30th. It was the worst staircase I’ve ever seen. I also won the Altus Cup competition in Katowice, Collegium Altum Runs in Poznań and the Palace of Culture and Science Runs in Warsaw. Each winning gives me great satisfaction.
What can I surprise you with? We will see … you need to follow my fanpage on facebook ‘Biegiem po schodach’. In November I’m going to take part in the competition in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Maybe there will be something to cover.
Passion Piece: What advice would you give to everyone who would like to try themselves in this particular discipline?
Mateusz: I encourage you to try yourself in this discipline. This sport is getting more and more popular in Poland. There are a few contests held in Poland, which are famous for a great atmosphere and a high level of organization. Of course, before taking part in any competitions, you need to prepare yourself well. First general preparation, for example running, then trainings on the staircase. At the beginning slow runs for example 5-10 floors repeated a few times, and later 15-20 and more floors. Later on you can try to pick up the pace.
Passion Piece: You are a husband, father, firefighter and sportsman. How do you reconcile your private and professional life with your passion?
Mateusz: Of course, it’s not easy. There are loads of duties. I get great help and support from my family, and especially from my wife, who truly supports me and patiently stands my trips to competitions. I try to organize my time in a way to handle everything well. I treat my sports passion seriously, and trainings a little bit like a duty. Of course, it’s only sport, and my family is the most important for me.
Passion Piece: Is your family’s support important for you?
Mateusz: Without my family’s support I wouldn’t gain anything. It would be impossible. I’m grateful to my dear ones for their help, and especially to my wife.
Passion Piece: What are you passionate about besides sport?
Mateusz: I love roller-blading. I don’t treat roller-blades like sport, as opposed to running, I treat them as a way of relaxation and recreation. It’s a wonderful feeling for me roller-blading in the evening and listening to music – it’s the best way to forget about stress for me. I’m also passionate about close and distant travels.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Mateusz: In 10 years’ time … hmm for sure at my wife’s side. I think I will be still doing sports, I will be still traveling (more with my family, less on my own) – I hope that I will still have some ambitious plans. We will see.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Mateusz: I don’t have a specific motto. I just think that if you believe in yourself, work hard and systematic you can gain a lot.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I hope that we will hear about your new successes soon.
It’s always worth fighting for your dreams, no matter which stage of your life you’re currently at. Thanks to them we can become happier people, and in this way we can make our dear one’s happy. I wish you to find the right passions, which you’d like to devote yourself to for good, the ones thanks to which you’ll become the best version of yourself.
See you around!
Photos by: Mateusz Marunowski