SAS voyager Matthew Pollinger has taken a novel approach to touring most of the ports the program has visited this summer: he runs them.
It’s not a simple jog; Matthew has logged between 50 to 100 miles per port, averaging two hours for each run. Matthew is an ultra-marathon runner, which means that he runs races that are marathon length (26.2 miles) and above. His longest race was 72 miles.
As an ultra-long-distance runner, Matthew has had to maintain his training between long stretches at sea and participating in tours in each country. He is also training for a 100-mile race in Vermont in early October. The running regiment has been quite educational for the Ithaca College student.
“Each city has presented its own unique challenges. As the voyage went on it got more difficult to navigate a good running route,” he notes.
Between cultural differences (being stopped in Istanbul for running without a shirt and then for not covering his shoulders) and navigating roadways (drivers rarely stop for pedestrians in Piraeus, Greece), Matthew has understood the differences of countries from his unique perspective.
“It’s definitely been a challenge and a growing experience,” he said. “You get a real different feel for each city that you can only gain by smelling it, getting lost in it, feeling a bit threatened it and allowing yourself to really explore it.”
Matthew said his two best running cities were Cadiz, Spain and Dubrovnik, Croatia. His best memory: Seeing a bear during a run in the hills just outside Dubrovnik. “I just waited for it to move on before I did.”