The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

District Running Collective co-founder Matt Green’s perfect day in D.C.


In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District.

Nine years ago, Matt Green and three friends hosted the Midnight On Mars 5K for Green’s 26th birthday. They partnered with the now-closed Avery’s Bar and Lounge on H Street and promoted the event on Instagram and Facebook. More than 100 people showed up to run.

They turned that 5K into District Running Collective (DRC) in the winter of 2014. What started as a group of fewer than 20 runners meeting at local bars and restaurants quickly grew to over 50 in the spring. Since then, DRC has expanded to 150 paid members and a community of hundreds of runners who show up for weekly events. Runners of all experience levels are welcome to register and join three-mile runs on Wednesdays and longer runs on Saturdays. Additionally, DRC offers cross-training on Thursdays for paid members along with other perks like race training plans.

“Seeing how running can change folks’ lives between weight loss, injuries, mental health, and seeing people come into their own and sign up for a marathon or a half-marathon when a year ago they wouldn’t even think about running three miles brings me a lot of pride and joy,” says Green, who leads the weekly runs with 15 captains out of the DRC headquarters on H Street NE.

When Green isn’t lacing up his sneakers, he’s working as a visual information specialist for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, where he designs graphics and campaigns for the government agency. Besides juggling work and running, Green is also a DJ, a skill he honed during the pandemic. So it’s no surprise that the Petworth resident’s dream day in D.C. revolves around connecting with his community through running and music.

Wednesday is my ideal day of the week because that’s where my week hits its exciting point. I have DRC and it’s hump day. I would start my day probably around 7:30 a.m. After getting up and getting dressed, I would hit La Coop coffee shop, and I would order a regular black coffee, no sugar, no cream. Then I would walk back home. It’s a good way to stretch and get into the morning. Mornings are my favorite time of the day. I think it’s probably one of the most peaceful times because there are not a lot of people outside.

Next, I would log on to my government job, since I work from home on Wednesdays. I would work from either my porch or my back deck. After I’m done working, I would start getting ready to go to DRC for our Wednesday run.

On my way, I would stop at Little Leaf plant shop on S Street NW, for ideas and to see what stands out to me. Then I would stop at Neopol Smokery in Union Market and get the salmon BLT with salt and vinegar chips. I would eat outside of the market. Usually, there are people over there that I know that I can talk to.

Then I would head over to DRC, which is only a couple of blocks from Union Market. I would grab a bottle of wine for a post-run drink from the Pursuit Wine Bar and Kitchen, which is across the street from the headquarters. I would get a nice dry red like a cabernet.

By this time, I’ll start DJing as people are coming in around 6 o’clock. I would do my announcements and get everyone excited to go for a run. There would be at least 100 to 120 people. We would run around the H Street neighborhood. Our route might include going around RFK Stadium, Union Market and toward the Capitol.

Next, we may hit up Vibez on H Street for post-run drinks and jerk wings. Then by 8 p.m., I’m like, cool, it’s time to go out. I’d head home to get ready for my DJ gig at Capo Deli, where I’m opening up for Darling Nikki, a biweekly party series. The homies that didn’t run would pull up and we’d have a party.

I would finish at Capo Deli around 2 in the morning, so I would grab a late-night slice of pepperoni pizza with green peppers cut into squares from Duccini’s Pizza. Then it’s time to go home, and that’s the end of my very long day.