Seize the opportunity when it presents itself: Matt Ebiner
Matt Ebiner is a much loved Geography professor at El Camino College, Southern California. He is the winner of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2013.
He has a Masters in Geography from UCLA and sees the world as a magnificent and fascinating place. Matt has visited 140 countries so far. He got his first big taste of travel as a 19-year old when he did a 49-day bicycle ride across the USA by himself and considers the 4000-mile trip to be one of his proudest accomplishments.
Matt is avidly interested in photography, backpacking, computers, investing, and reading.
1. You are a Geography Professor at El Camino College and an Olympic trial athlete who wins marathons with a timing of 2:19 minutes. What is your mantra for being extremely successful at whatever you do, whether it is teaching Geography, winning marathons or running a business?
Seize the opportunity when it presents itself. Use the talents that God has given you. Seek inspiration; spend time with people who are excellent in what they do. Do things that would make your parents or children proud of you. What would you like to be proud of when you reflect on your life decades from now?
2. What made you take up teaching?
The firm belief that we live in a fascinating and magnificent world, and the desire to share that with students.
3. Students say great things about you - the innovative teaching methods you employ like colouring of maps, providing anecdotes/experiences from your various trips around the world and your passion for the subject. What do you think makes you such a "hit" with the youth and the student community?
Variety is important; I try to include visuals (photos, maps) in my lectures, along with stories that make the topics more interesting and memorable. I have a good sense of how I am being perceived, and I am willing to change direction if my methods are not working on a particular day or with a specific group of students.
4. How and when did you develop an interest for running?
I started running when I was 14 years old, as I began high school. My older brothers were good runners in high school and I followed in their footsteps. I wanted to match and surpass their accomplishments.
5. How was your experience of running the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2013? It is fun running in different countries because there's always something that is done differently. I was initially disappointed that the Mumbai Marathon race organizers would only give me a bib number that put me in the slowest starting corral (for marathoners running over 6 hours), but on race day it didn't matter. No one was separating us at the starting line. I was a little surprised at the amount of security that the runners had to pass through (metal detectors, body frisking) but I can understand why it is done.
6. Having participated in marathons across the world, what are your suggestions to marathon organizers in India?
It would have been nice to have energy gels (GU, Clif Shot) available on the course for the runners as all the marathons in America do. I think the marathoners and half marathoners could have been separated on different sides of the street in the last few miles. The lead motorcycle policeman did a good job trying to clear the way for me, but towards the end there were too many half marathoners that I was catching and I had to weave in and out of them. It would have been nice if marathoners had a separate finish from the half marathoners – as I finished in first place I was somewhat lost in the sea of half marathoners and I don't think the announcer or anyone in the crowd realized I was in first place.
7. Could you share some marathon running tips for amateur runners?
Patience! Marathon preparation takes time, perhaps 6 months depending on what your beginning fitness is. Progress is gradual and the improvement isn't always noticeable every day. One must be patient. The results of consistent training are undeniable over the long term
8. What was your first trip to India, like? Could you share some funny, memorable incidents with us?
I first visited India in 1996 and I enjoyed running past camel carts on the streets of Jaipur. That's not something that would happen on one of my training runs in America. In 2004 I loved attending the camel festival in Bikaner and visiting the rat temple in Deshnok.