December 12 2017
Meet Rhonda-Marie and Steven Parke, two ultrarunners who discovered their love for each other through running.
When Matt & Kim take the stage, you can bet they will deliver. The Brooklyn-based indie-pop duo is known for its crazy antics (think: dancing on top of crowds). Reviews are peppered with phrases like “raucous energy,” “ecstatic performance,” “dynamic and electrifying.”
What even the most astute music critics don’t know? That’s not only a fitting description of drummer Kim Schifino’s beats, but also her skills on the track.
Schifino started running as a middle school student in East Providence, R.I. She got serious about the sport in high school, racing cross country as well as indoor and outdoor track, a schedule which had her waking up early to practice before school and staying late to squeeze in additional miles.
“I could not keep track of how many times I watched Chariots of Fire,” Schifino says. “My room was covered in magazine cutouts of runners. I lived running. I loved it.”
Her hard work led to fast times. Schifino raced in division, regional and national meets, and in 1994 she won the Rhode Island State Cross Country Championships.
Schifino also won a running scholarship to Penn State University, but she transferred to the Pratt Institute after her freshman year, a lucky move for the drummer’s fans. That’s where she met Vermont-native Matt Johnson. The two have been together, musically and romantically, ever since.
Switching her focus from track to music meant a hiatus from running during art school, but Schifino picked it up again four years ago when she was looking for a way to get t.
“I like to say, ‘I’m keeping it tight!’ Matt and I have been together for 10 years, so I’m also keeping it tight for him,” she says.
These days, the musician runs three miles a few times a week, and does a bike workout on the other days. She doesn’t stress out about the pace. Her new, relaxed running routine also includes music—usually her own.
“I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but since we finished recording [our album] ‘Lightning,’ it has been all I’ve been listening to during workouts,” Schifino says. “Just put on ‘Now’ when you feel like you want to give up, or ‘Overexposed’ at a hard point of the workout.”
Schifino’s diet has evolved along with her training schedule. On race days in high school, she used to eat cold pasta with bananas for lunch. Now she favors whole-wheat noodles with tomatoes, basil, garlic, olives and feta, or a simple salad full of fresh produce.
Though Matt & Kim are rumored to be inseparable on stage and off, Schifino says running and cooking are mostly solo pursuits. “I mean, Matt helps me in the kitchen, and he can make a beans-and-couscous meal, but that is about it,” she says. “I think we have a good thing worked out—I do all the cooking, and he fixes my computer every time I break it.” ■
Before slaying the music scene, Kim was a killer on the track. Check out personal bests:
INDOOR MILE: 5:13
INDOOR 2 MILE: 11:21
OUTDOOR 1,500 METERS: 4:50
OUTDOOR 3,000 METERS: 10:20