Mr. Jason Sammartino ’04 walks 500 miles over summer break

Not letting the Coronavirus keep him locked inside, Sammartino used his time to safely explore Philadelphia and learn new things on the journey.

Matt Hess, Managing Editor

“I could walk down Chestnut Street that was completely ransacked. You could see the boarded windows, you could see the glass in the street. You could see a city in pain,” Sammartino said.

Sammartino, 11th Grade Academy leader and English teacher, reflects on the first time he set this goal during the summer of 2018.

“That was the summer I had no travel planned. I had very little going on. I decided to be a hometown tourist and I just wanted to wander around Philadelphia. I made a Google Map of a bunch of places I’ve been, a bunch of places I’ve never been, some things that I looked up, and I spent my days wandering around the city,” Sammartino said. 

After noticing how the pandemic was impacting his walking this summer, Sammartino decided to revive the goal he set two summers before of walking 500 miles in 3 months.

“I wasn’t leaving my apartment in South Philadelphia too often, so I thought, let me see if I could do this again this summer. Towards the middle of May I decided I would set this goal. The goal goes from June 1st to August 31st,” he said. 

While walking each day, Sammartino took advantage of this peaceful time to think.

“As I did my walks I observed and I spent a lot of time noticing the world around me,” he said. “If I would walk through other neighborhoods, I would have a mask and sunglasses on, and I would make sure I take my glasses off and look people in the eye. I was still trying to make some human connections even though I was looking like I was trying to be in disguise.”

Completing a major milestone such as walking 500 miles in 3 months doesn’t come without its difficulties, though. Sammartino discussed how staying on pace was the hardest part of achieving the goal.

“I think the hardest part of my goal was the consistency of what I had to do. When I did the math it came out to an average of over 5 miles a day, and there were some days where you didn’t want to do anything. I always feel bad if I set a goal and don’t make it, so I want to push myself to achieve, and 500 miles is no walk in the park,” he said.

After overcoming the obstacles, Sammartino finally finished his 500th mile. 

“This time it was very satisfying. I finished my 500 miles on the Ben Franklin Bridge, which is one of my favorite walks to take. A few days I would walk from South Philadelphia to Camden and back and maybe stretch it out to a 10 mile walk. Being on the bridge to finish it, there was a rainbow and a beautiful sunset, it was a good way to wrap up the journey,” Sammartino said.