My name is Matt Hidalgo. I have resided in the Pacific Northwest for the majority of my life, but Banks, Oregon is the place I call home. Adrenaline sports have always been my passion; as soon as I could ride a bike, I wanted to jump it. My passion for extreme sports evolved as I got older, which led me to the sport of Pole Vault during my freshman year of high school. My Grandfather, who was a top level vault competitor in the 60s, turned me on to the sport. After one season I was hooked. I knew this was something I wanted to train for year around for in order to become the best I could. It is quite the rush launching your body into the air as high as you can, and the best part is that the better you get, the higher you get to go. Although Pole Vault is one of the most dangerous sports, the risk is worth the feeling of clearing a new height.

Q & A

What do you do when you are not running (other hobbies/counter sports)?

In my spare time you’ll find me skiing, doing parkour, rock climbing, hiking, riding dirt bikes, riding sport bikes, or disc golfing. My main goal is to have as much fun as I possibly can. When I’m not active, I’m tasting new IPA’s and spending time with the people I love.

Favorite running shoe?

My favorite running shoe is the Nike Zoom Structure. Can’t beat a Nike Zoom Air shoe.

If you had to name one aspect of running that gets your most psyched, what would it be?

The moment you are at top speed.

Favorite Eugene meal after Vaulting?

A teriyaki beef plate and a spam musubi from Every Day Kine Grindz. They’ve got the best Hawaiian food in Oregon.

What are your top 3 fav vaulting locations?

  1. Hayward Field. Eugene, Oregon.
  2. The Armory. Washington Heights Manhattan, New York.
  3. The Tacoma Freedom Fair Beach Vault. Tacoma, Washington.

How many poles have you broken?

I’ve broken 3 in my career. Luckily I’ve been alright every time. It is quite a sensation when a pole brakes. The noise is about as loud as a gunshot and the shock sent through your hands can fracture bones, and the broken pieces and shards launch outwards with amazing force.

What is the best part of any vault?

The best part is the frozen moment when you’re soaring above the cross bar, however many feet in the air, and you know you made it. That moment feels incredible. The fall back to earth is priceless.

Guilty Oregon pleasure?

Camping deep in the woods with my friends, or visiting the amazing breweries around the state.

Tea or coffee or Kombucha?

I love all three. Coffee would have to be my favorite though. Sometimes I’ll even drink coffee while vaulting. I mostly drink it black, however every now and then a caramel macchiato hits the spot.

Essential training food?

A dense, nutrition packed meal bar. Something I can throw down that keeps me going. Coconut flavored preferably. My favorites are Tram Bars, Probars, and Meal Pack bars.

If you never started vaulting what would you have pursued instead?

Skiing for sure. I’ve been an avid skier for over 15 years.

Who is your idol/hero?

I have many inspirations in many different disciplines. However, from a pole vaulting standpoint, Renaud Lavillenie is my hero. He broke the world record in 2014, proving that small guys can jump pretty high too.

What is the scariest, or most intimidating part about vaulting?

Vaulting is a mental game. So the most intimidating part is the realization that you have to run at absolute top speed with a 16-foot pole, plant that pole into an 8-inch-wide box, jump as high as you can, and get that pole to go past vertical. If you don’t generate enough energy (or worse, you make a mistake) and that pole doesn’t get past vertical, then you get rejected. It happens to every vaulter at least a few times, in varying degrees of catastrophe. The end result is you’re not going to land on the mat, you’re going to hit the ground. That risk is what makes pole vaulting exhilarating. Unfortunately, the mind game of pole vaulting and fear of making a mistake causes many vaulters (world champions included) to leave the sport for extended periods of time, and often indefinitely.