Matthew Crumpton, Northeast Georgia Health System’s manager of emergency preparedness, hasn’t missed a day of running for 10 years.
Even as he spent 18-hour workdays helping lead the hospital’s Incident Command Center during the pandemic, Crumpton made sure to get in at least 1 mile a day.
Receiving surgery for his appendicitis in 2013 didn’t even throw a wrench into the operation.
“The doctor told me I could run as long as it doesn’t hurt so much,” Crumpton said. “He probably thought I was joking. Of course, I wasn’t joking.”
So far, Crumpton has logged in 23,878.5 miles over the course of 3,657 days. He said he currently averages around 70-90 miles a week.
Running every single day for the past 10 years was never something he planned. The launching point began when he exercised with his then-seventh-grade-son, who he later found out was preparing for joining a cross-country team.
They ran three miles, and since then, Crumpton hasn't stopped.
Crumpton is no stranger to physical activity. His sports roots date back to grade school, and he also served in the military as an Army Ranger in the 75th Ranger regiment.
"We ran all the time,” he said. “We do physical training an hour before the regular Army does training. The whole motto of the Rangers is, ‘Exceed in everything.’”
Soon after committing to his daily running endeavor, Crumpton began signing up for races. He started with a half-marathon, which progressed to a marathon, which eventually climbed to setting the bucket-list-goal of running for 100 miles straight in 2018.
Crumpton, with 50 others runners, began the Pistol Ultra Run in Tennessee on March 17. He said he was confident until he hit mile 76 at around 2:30 a.m.
“I remember feeling pain in my legs,” he said. “It was harder than being in the military or Rangers.”
As he struggled to continue, he received a call from Cathy Sanford, who was the chief operating officer at Chestatee Regional Hospital. She told Crumpton that a tanker truck carrying liquid oxygen had overturned near the hospital and all patients needed to be evacuated.
From mile 76 to 86 of the race, held on a paved greenway trail in Alcoa, Tennessee, Crumpton successfully coordinated the safety operation over the phone, walking during calls and running in between.
Crumpton completed the run in 28 hours and 32 minutes and received a belt buckle embellished with a pistol. He was the 36th to finish, according to the Pistol Ultra Run results.
“I always tell people, if it’s important to you, you’ll do it,” he said. “If it’s not important to you, you’ll make an excuse. That’s the same thing that’s true about running every day. To me, running every day is important.”
Over the past 146 days, Crumpton has helped lead the hospital's response for COVID-19.
Crumpton said he played a role in establishing NGHS’ coronavirus taskforce with Dr. Supriya Mannepalli in early January 2020.
On March 13, Crumpton’s job kicked into high gear as the health system moved into full activation of its command center.
“In March and April, as I spoke with physician colleagues in other health systems about ideas and protocols they were considering around COVID-19, I realized many of those processes had already been initiated at NGHS, thanks to Matthew,” said Dr. Andrew Green, director of robotic surgery at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
Crumpton said his job as the emergency preparedness manager is to facilitate and help run the command center. His day-to-day consists of compiling data and statistics coming through NGHS hospitals regarding COVID-19, as well as gathering pandemic updates on the state and national level.
“I provide that information to my key leaders, so they can make informed decisions,” he said.
Over the years, Crumpton has received dozens of honors for his commitment to Georgians’ safety, including one recently by order of Gov. Brian Kemp.
For his “exceptionally-meritorious service during COVID-19 response for the Northeast Georgia region,” Crumpton earned the Georgia Commendation Medal on July 8, which was presented by members of the Georgia National Guard.
The Banks County Board of Commissioners also recognized Crumpton for his emergency preparedness work by presenting him with a certificate of appreciation on July 28.
The letter thanked him for his “help in getting critical needs to reduce the spread of coronavirus in Banks County.” Crumpton said he was able to bring critical supplies to Banks during the pandemic, including trauma kits for law enforcement and personal protective gear and disinfectant spray for departments in the county.
Carol Burrell, president and CEO of NGHS, said while she is grateful for Crumpton’s leadership every day, she’s especially thankful for his efforts during the pandemic.
“He brings a wealth of emergency preparedness knowledge to NGHS, and his experience has helped us keep several steps ahead of the virus,” Burrell said.