Geography professor top male veteran finisher in marathon

Geography professor top male veteran finisher in marathon

Geography professor Matt Ebiner does more than just run down lists of places from a map; he runs around those places as a marathon runner.

Ebiner, 52, was the top male veteran finisher in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, which take place each year in January in the financial capital of India.

Ebiner said he is “living his dream.”

Teaching, competitive running and travel are Ebiner’s main interests. Being able to combine these activities is what brings him joy in his life.

Ebiner leads group trips to international destinations when he is not teaching. While planning one such trip to India and Nepal, he found out about the marathon and decided to add extra time to his trip to allow him to compete in the race.

“As I was looking at a website for the running and racing calendar of India, I thought it would be great if I found out about a race that would work into this trip schedule,” Ebiner said. “It turned out this Mumbai marathon was just a few days after the trip finished, so my wife, daughter and I stayed a little bit extra and went to that race.”

That split second decision turned out to be a winning one as Ebiner claimed first place in his group.

“I’m in great shape, especially for my age. I was 51 at the time of the race, and usually someone of my isn’t a contender to win the race, but at this point, I am one of the top runners in the world at my age,” Ebiner said. “If I’m competing just against people of my age, then I usually win, but this was for all ages, so even like the younger guys, I was able to beat them.”

Ebiner won a small purse and was given a gold medal for winning the race, but in his opinion, that is not the greatest reward.

“It’s a great sense of accomplishment to be able to do that,” Ebiner said.

Marathons are a 26 mile race, and Ebiner understands what goes into training. Prior to Mumbai, his last marathon was in November, and he is now training for the Boston Marathon in April.

“It takes a lot of perseverance to have a long range plan. You can’t just train for a marathon in a week. It takes many months,” Ebiner said.

Ebiner said he has been training well since May of last year and is ready for the challenge. He does a training run of 20 miles each week by himself, without headphones or any other company aside from the road.

Ebiner says he’s ready for Boston in April.

“I probably won’t be quite where I hope to be for Boston, which is April 15, but hopefully I’ll be healthy when the race comes and have a respectable showing,” Ebiner said. “We’ll see how it goes.”