Things That Matter

Her Parents Couldn’t Afford Running Shoes, Now She’s An Olympian

Meet Brenda Martinez.

She’s an elite distance runner who recently qualified for the Olympics — by a fraction of a second.

Brenda Martinez diving for the final spot on the Olympic 1500M team #roadtorio #olympics #tracktown16

A photo posted by James Carney (@jamescarney24) on

This is how close it was:

Credit: NBC / YouTube
CREDIT: Credit: NBC / YouTube

Martinez placed third in the 1500m Olympic qualifying race, beating out Amanda Eccleston by .03 seconds to snatch the final spot on the Olympic 1500m team.

When Martinez realized she qualified, she broke down. After years of personal struggles and setbacks, the 28-year-old knew she would get a chance to perform on track and field’s biggest stage.

The joy of making an Olympic team #roadtorio #olympics #tracktown16 @nbrunning @newbalanceus @newbalance

A photo posted by James Carney (@jamescarney24) on

How’d she get there? Let’s start at the beginning. Martinez was a hyperactive kid who had too much energy for her hardworking parents, who each worked two jobs to support Martinez and her two siblings.

Martinez was such a ball of energy that her mother enrolled her in a track and field club. Her mom took on another job so she could pay the club’s fees.


While in the program, Martinez’s coaches realized she wasn’t great at sprinting. But she could run for a long time. That’s when Martinez, who says she was tough to beat when playing “tag” at school, became a distance runner.

Martinez says her parents couldn’t afford nice running shoes when she was a kid, so now she donates shoes to those in need.


“I remember when I was young and my parents couldn’t afford to buy me a new pair of running shoes,” wrote Martinez on Instagram. “The shoes I wore to school were the same shoes I wore to practice. My father would always try to find running shoes on the clearance rack. I’m donating back to the sport that gave me a fighting chance in the world.”

After standout performances in high school, Martinez went on to have an impressive career at UC Riverside, where she would be named All-American three times.

#seemyrun One of my favorite runs on the mountain. #nationalrunningday #BigBearLake

A photo posted by BRENDA MARTINEZ (@bmartrun) on


It was also where she met her husband (and trainer) Carlos Handler, a former UC Riverside running star.

After college, Martinez dreamed of making an Olympic team. Her dream was put on hold when two Olympic development teams rejected her.


Without a team to support her, Martinez wondered if she would have to give up on the sport she loved. “There were days when, I don’t want to say I was depressed, but I was crying a lot,” Martinez told Runner’s World.

Without a coach or a team, Martinez and her husband, Carlos Handler, contemplated their next move. Handler decided to give up his running career to pay the rent.


Handler began working construction jobs to help pay the rent and to help Martinez focus on her career. “I couldn’t be selfish and I knew Brenda could do it,” Handler told the OC Register.

Eventually, Martinez and Handler linked up with Joe Vigil, a legendary coach who believed in Martinez’s talent.


Vigil wasn’t just any coach. The 86-year-old has led Adams State University to 19 national championships in cross-country.

After learning that Martinez was rejected by two Olympic development teams, Vigil agreed to coach Martinez. It’s worked out well:


In 2013, Martinez won a bronze medal at the World Championships, becoming the first American woman to medal at a major championship in 25 years.

So at this year’s Olympic trials, Martinez was poised to qualify for two events: the 800m run and the 1500m run.

Credit: NBC / Timgraysontv / YouTube
CREDIT: Credit: NBC / Timgraysontv / YouTube

But disaster struck during the 800m. Just as Martinez was making a push, her foot was clipped and she lost her momentum.

Credit: NBC Sports / YouTube
CREDIT: Credit: NBC Sports / YouTube

Just like that, Martinez lost her shot at qualifying for the 800m.

Martinez was shaken after the race, but she faced the adversity head on, and focused on qualifying for the 1500m.

Credit: letsrundotcom / YouTube
CREDIT: Credit: letsrundotcom / YouTube

“The track doesn’t care about your feelings. You’ve just got to move forward,” said Martinez after the race.

So when Martinez came back and qualified for the 1500m, she was just doing what she always does: overcoming setbacks.


Martinez’s husband attributes her determination to her upbringing. He told the OC Register that growing up without much money made her tougher: “I just think the environment she comes from doesn’t allow her to quit, she doesn’t know when to give up. She just keeps pushing through it.”

Martinez, who runs a running camp for high school girls, says that her desire to inspire young Latina runners also gives her an edge.


Every year, Martinez picks 10 girls to participate in the camp. She pays for their meals and transportation. Her sponsor provides the kids with three pairs of shoes and running gear.

Martinez told Runner’s World whenever there’s a bad day during training, she reminds herself she’s got lots of young runners looking up to her.

#tuesdaythoughts Focus on the good! Life is short, live it to the fullest! #teamNB #alwaysinbeta

A photo posted by BRENDA MARTINEZ (@bmartrun) on


“There’s no more feeling sorry for myself. They’re the ones who are keeping me hungry.”

Read more about Brenda Martinez @ Runner’s World and @ OC Register.


READ: Meet The Mexican Volleyball Player Who Was One Of College Volleyball’s Biggest Stars

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Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

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Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

Last week, Mexican feminist activists took over the National Human Rights Commissions federal building in a move to bring greater awareness to the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide that has racked Mexico for decades.

According to the federal Interior Secretariat, the statistics in Mexico have recently taken a turn for the worse.

Domestic violence against women has became an even more acute problem since the pandemic has forced women to stay insider with their abusers. Emergency distress calls reporting domestic violence have risen by 50%.

The occupation of the Human Rights building is just another chapter in the saga of the “Ni Una Menos” (Not One More Woman) movement, an anti-femicide collective born in Argentina that has steadily been gaining steam in Mexico since 2019.

In recent years, anti-femicide demonstrations have been sparked by various heinous crimes against women or girls that have been largely overlooked by law enforcement officials. 

Photo by Marcos Brindicci/Getty Images

Unfortunately, the government of Mexico has appeared to be apathetic to the wave of femicide that is overwhelming the women of their country.

Recently, when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was asked to address Mexico’s gender violence epidemic, he demurred, stating that he didn’t “want femicide to detract” from the raffle his administration was holding for the sale of the presidential airplane.

As for the feminist activists at the heart of Ni Una Menos and the federal building occupation, the government’s failure to respond to anti-woman violence is the primary fuel for their anger. 

“We’re here so that the whole world will know that in Mexico they kill women and nobody does anything about it,” said Yesenia Zamudio to the LA Times. According to Zamudio, she is still seeking justice for the murder of her 19-year-old daughter four years ago.

The women of Mexico appear to be fed up, grasping at any and all tactics that have the potential to incite change on a grander scale.

Their tactics may seem dramatic to some, but it’s undeniable that they are no longer being ignored. As of now, the radical activists are pulling attention-grabbing stunts like decorating a portrait of Mexican Revolution leader Francisco Madero with lipstick and purple hair.

They’re also making headlines for vandalizing the federal building’s walls and splashing paint on the doors of the presidential palace.

One thing is for sure: something has to change. Otherwise, thousands of innocent women and girls will continue to be raped, abused, and murdered while their perpetrators escape with immunity. 

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

Chip Somodevilla / Gettycc

After weeks of speculation and anticipation, presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he has officially picked his running mate.

In a history-making announcement, Biden revealed that he had tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his VP Pick.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden announced in a tweet.

On Wednesday, Biden held his first campaign event alongside running mate Kamala Harris in Delaware.

During their speeches, the two candidates wore masks and kept their distance in keeping with COVID-19 standards.

Speaking about his VP pick, Biden described Harris as coming from an “America’s story.” Biden described Harris as “a child of immigrants” who “knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the United States of America,” he explained. “And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls that feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today — today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as president and vice presidents.”

In a speech of her own, Harris emphasized the importance of family and urged citizens to vote.  “We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be,” she said. “Joe likes to say that character is on the ballot. And it’s true,” she explained. “I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great. But ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most.”

Harris’s nomination makes her the first Black and first Indian-American woman on either major party’s presidential ticket.

Harris is a former prosecutor from California who challenged Biden in her own presidential bid last year. Her nomination makes her the fourth woman to appear on a major presidential ballot. Before her, Geraldine Ferraro ran as a Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984. In 2008, Republican Sarah Palin ran as a vice presidential nominee, later in 2016, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic presidential nominee.

Biden’s choice was one that has long been in the works. In March of this year, he revealed that he would make a point to have a woman as his running mate and in July he announced that he had narrowed his picks down to four Black women.

Kamala Harris was elected to Congress in 2016.

This has been Harris’ first term as a senator. Before, she served as the California attorney general. During her time as AG, Harris formed a lasting friendship with Biden’s late son Beau who was attorney general at the time in Delaware. Writing about Beau’s death, in her memoir The Truths We Hold, Harris recalled that “there were periods when I was taking the heat when Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day,” she wrote in her memoir. “We had each other’s backs.”

Biden’s son Beau died in 2015 from brain cancer. Harris attended his funeral.

During his announcement, Biden mentioned Harris’ friendship with his son.

“I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,” Biden tweeted. “I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

So far, it seems there are quite a bit of Harris x Biden supporters.

Fans were quick to give their support and applaud her candidacy.

In a tweet acknowledging her nomination, Harris wrote “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Here’s to 2020 y’all. Get ready to make history.

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