DIVINE::Spotlight on Roz Martin – Wife & Mom of two, who recently completed her goal to run a marathon by the age of 40.
DIVINE: : Congratulations on completing the St. Jude half marathon! So how long have you been running?
RM: I have enjoyed athletics since I can remember. It all started at Little Flower Catholic School where I played my first basketball game on a co-ed team at six-years-old. The intensity and competition of sports was my first true love. I continued to play sports throughout middle and high school until I suffered a severe knee injury my senior year which essentially ended my athletic career.
DIVINE:: Wow! So what did you do after your injury?
RM: Life went on, I graduated college, married my college sweetheart, worked in my career, earned some other credentials but I was missing sports.
DIVINE:: To a true athlete, it’s not a good feeling to “miss sports”. How did you get back in the game?
RM: In the summer of 2011, after my second son was born, I started a 10-week training with the Memphis Woman Run Walk group. After the training and 5K graduation race, I did not continue running. The next summer I signed up again for the running program and after the 5K, I did the same thing, I quit running. The summer of 2013, I signed up for the training program, but this time I didn’t quit running.
DIVINE:: It’ s not uncommon to start & start something especially when it comes to exercise. Thanks for your honesty! So how did you finally get to a place of consistency?
RM: I plugged in with a local running group, the Schweddy Bells at Breakaway Running, and continued to run through one of the coldest winters in Memphis. Now that I was connected to a like-minded group of runners, we could keep each other going.
DIVINE:: Awesome! There’s nothing like having someone to hold you accountable. Iron sharpens iron!
DIVINE:: So what happened after you joined your group and had a group of people to keep you going?
RM: In 2014, several of my running buddies started talking about running a half marathon. I rolled my eyes and thought, “Why would you want to torture yourself like that?” My longest distance at that time was about four miles.
DIVINE:: Did you do it?
RM: In May 2014, as frightened as I was, I had enough courage to sign up to run the St. Jude Half Marathon. I thought to myself 13 miles, that’s a really long run. However, what excited me the most was that I signed up to be a St. Jude Hero and raise money for sick children. Surprisingly, I met my fundraising goal in just eight days! I was so amazed at everyone’s generosity! The experience of raising money for such a worthy cause is indescribable.
DIVINE: Wow! That’s amazing! So how in the world did you prepare to go from 4 miles to 13 miles?
Training for the longest run in my life was going to be difficult with two preschoolers.
RM: Training for the longest run in my life was going to be difficult with two preschoolers. With my family obligations, I would run 1 time a week with the Belles from Breakaway and run other days on my own so I wouldn’t be away from my family too much. Once the half marathon training began, I knew I needed more support. I learned that Black Girls Run! met close to my home. I met some wonderful ladies there as well. In addition, Breakaway Running hosted training each Saturday morning for several weeks and it helped me prepare for the race.
By mile 12, I was getting fatigued but my pain was only temporary compared to the hours, months and years of treatment some of the patients have to endure.
DIVINE:: You were pretty serious! Good for you! So how was the actual race? the marathon?
RM: Race day was amazing! The weather was very pleasant despite the heavy rains that were in Memphis the days preceding the race. During the race, we ran through the campus of St. Jude and the patients and their families cheered so loud for everyone but especially the St. Jude Heroes. I felt my eyes fill with tears and I thought about all the pain and hardships some families have had to face with a sick child. By mile 12, I was getting fatigued but my pain was only temporary compared to the hours, months and years of treatment some of the patients have to endure.
DIVINE:: You are amazing! So what did it feel like to FINISH?
RM: As I crossed the finish line, I felt like a CHAMPION! I had set out to do something I thought was almost insane, but I am glad I pushed myself to do something I didn’t think I would ever attempt. To add to the accomplishment, I completed this goal by age 37, not 40.
DIVINE: So amazing!!! We’re SO proud of you! You are a true inspiration to others with the same goal! Whether it’s to finish 3 miles or 13 miles, you have certainly inspired our readers! Do you have anyone else to thank for accomplishing such an awesome goal?
RM: I am truly thankful to my husband for his overwhelming support, my running buddies from the Schweddy Belles, Black Girls Run! and my other family and friends.
DIVINE: Thanks Roz!!! Keep up the great work & thank you again for sharing your story of inspiration!
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