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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The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

Entertainment

The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

@BernieSanders / Twitter

Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and rapper Cardi B have been teasing their on-screen discussion on issues ranging from police brutality to canceling student debt for a few weeks now. Finally, the Sanders campaign published the video in all its nearly ten minutes of glory.

The two met at Detroit’s TEN nail bar, a deluxe nail salon founded and operated by two women of color. Cardi B came prepared with a list of questions that her own followers have brought up with her. In essence, Cardi B served as a representative of her fans’ political interests and brought them to a Presidential candidate to see if he would be the guy to officially represent their needs in the nation’s most meaningful capacity–as POTUS 2020.

Six weeks ago, Cardi asked her fans what they would want to hear Bernie Sanders discuss.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

On July 2, the rapper shared a video to Instagram telling her followers that her number one question to Bernie Sanders is about how to end police brutality in this country. “What would you like to ask? what change would you like to see in your community and in the USA 🇺🇸?” she posted. “2020 is getting very close let’s get familiar with who is running and how they can change the country! Put your questions down below and your questions may be answered very soon.”

Nobody expected she was actually going to sit down with Bernie Sanders and represent the Bardi Gang’s political issues.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Hilariously, Sanders wiggled his fingers alongside Cardi B’s as he told us that, “Cardi B’s nails are juuuust a little different than mine. Our views on the issues are pretty similar.” 

Cardi B absolutely nailed it as an interviewer. She steered the conversation and truly represented her followers’ interests. She opened the video to remind everyone that, “A couple of weeks ago, I asked my followers what types of questions would you want to ask a Democratic candidate. Let’s go baby.” Here are the takeaways.

Number one: Cardi and Bernie’s shared goal is getting Trump out of office.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“You know what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to advocate the youth in my community because I feel like there’s a serious problem right now in America,” Cardi opens. “We have this bully as a President and the only way to take him out is somebody winning.”

“We’ve got to get rid of Donald Trump, obviously. Because Donald Trump is an overt racist. He’s just way out there.”

The first question on Cardi’s mind is putting an end to police brutality in America. Bernie has a three-pronged plan.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B got vulnerable and talked about the mental effects of what it’s like to “constantly see on social media police brutality against black men and against minorities. What are we going to do to change that, because that is discouraging our people? We constantly see our men getting killed every day, and it seems like nobody cares.”

Sanders wants to end the militarization of police departments, which he sees as a form of intimidation.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

To address police brutality, he wants the Department of Justice to investigate every police killing to ensure accountability and prevent local police departments from covering up crimes. He also wants to federally obligate police departments to “look like the community they serve” and “not like an oppressive army.” Sanders related to the “disgust” of seeing 1 in 4 young black men in the criminal justice system. His solution to that specific issue is to invest in free education instead of investing in prisons and incarceration. 

During his first week as President, Sanders will reinstate the executive order that gave protections to DREAMers, and he wants to extend those protections to their parents.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi had recalled meeting a fan who enrolled for protections under DACA and is now facing deportation back to Mexico–a place that he has no living memory of ever knowing. Bernie wants the 1.8 million young people who qualify for DACA to experience the freedoms of this country. When he said he wants to expand that program to their parents, Cardi did a little jiggle and let out a “Yeahhh!”

Bernie is going to raise taxes to allow free healthcare and education, but it will be cheaper on a day to day for Americans.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“People are afraid to pay more taxes than they’re already paying,” Cardi rightly stated. Bernie’s plan to offer free health care for all will ultimately be cheaper for the overwhelming majority of people than paying for premiums, deductibles, and copayments.

Cardi B will never forget how hard it was to make a living wage before she found fame.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B brought up how “certain people like to brag” about how there are more jobs in America, but she’s questioning the quality of these jobs. Why are her followers having to work two or three jobs to survive? Bernie wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

By placing a modest tax on Wall Street, Sanders plans to cancel student debt.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Forty-five million Americans are living with student debt. Sanders knows that those of us in our 20s and 30s were told that we had to go to college to get a good job. Where the good jobs at? Our generation is far less likely to own homes and make financial progress in our lives. For the first time, our generation is worse off than the generation before it. 

Sanders has a message to Cardi B’s followers: “Trump doesn’t want people of color to be participating in the political process.”

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“Participate in the political process,” he tells POC. You can spend five minutes to register to vote here.

Watch the full interview below!

What do you think about Cardi B’s interview?

READ: Cardi B Claps Back At “Republicans And Conservatives” Who Want Her To Shut Up When It Comes To Politics

Little Boy On His Way to Kindergarten Tells His Mom ‘Don’t Be Scared’ And All Of Twitter Is Sobbing

Culture

Little Boy On His Way to Kindergarten Tells His Mom ‘Don’t Be Scared’ And All Of Twitter Is Sobbing

Prepare yourself to desperately want kids if you don’t already. Possibly the cutest kid alive went to Kindergarten for the first time on Monday, and was feeling very ready. That said, his mom was far less ready to see her baby boy go off to school for the first time. So she did what any other mom would do–she asked him to “tell [her] something to help [her] feel better.” Oh, and she recorded everything and his response went viral on Twitter because it’s 2019.

Now, Twitter is begging the Universe to impregnate them so they can have a perfect muñeco lindo like this one.

“You’re going to your first day of Kindergarten.” his mom says. “How do you feel?”

Credit: @headdphanieeeee / Twitter

“Good,” he says matter of factly. “Good? You feel good?” she asks. “No,” he says. Incredulous, she double checks with her son and he answers her again, “No!” He’s not nervous, auntie.

“You’re not nervous? I’m nervous. Can you tell me something to make me feel better?”

Credit: @headdphanieeeee / Twitter

Just two weeks prior, a white supremacist drove 10 hours to El Paso, Texas to specifically target Latinos. He killed 22 people with an assault-type rifle. Everyone is scared. Except for this pequeño.

“Umm… Just please don’t be scared ’cause there’s nothing to be afraid of,” he comforts his mom. At this point, all the comments look like this: “THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I’VE SEEN.”

What the hell how is this kid 40 already?” asks one fan.

Credit: @headdphanieeeee / Twitter

Another commented, “I feel like 1 conversation with him, he can help me file my taxes, figure out why I’m depressed, tell me what foods to eat that can burn fat while I sleep and tell me the meaning of life. He GENIUS smart, I can tell. Lol”

Other parents could relate to Liz’s fears and are hoping their kid feels as confident as this little one.

Credit: @headdphanieeeee / Twitter

Another dad was commiserating with the mom’s fear, knowing he had to drop his daughter off at school soon, too. “This is awesome!” he tweeted. “Next week my baby starts kindergarten and I swear daddy is gonna be in tears to see my princess go somewhere without me being there! So I feel you on this”

His official “First Day of School” pic is even more precious. 

Credit: @ellyez42 / Instagram

Based in Fort Worth, Texas, Liz is clearly cultivating a bright kid. She captioned this photo, “So masterfully created and crafted. Wildfire-setting all things in his path ablaze.” she  An uncontrolled, genuine, grateful, innocuous, exuberant, kind, and messy version of two humans. A concoction of inquiries with very little answers, yet the burning question still rises within me…how am I so fortunate to know you? How giving Mother Earth has been for gifting us you.”

Folks have asked, “how is he so emotionally intelligent at such a young age?” Liz is raising him so, so right.

Credit: @ellyez42 / Instagram

She captioned this photo from March: “Boys will be boys, with respectful demeanors who hold the aptitude to take no for an answer.” I’m sobbing.

“Trust your offspring and they will deliver honesty,” she continues. “Remind them that it’s okay to cry, then laugh with them when the tears subside. Teach boys to water their gardens so that they can watch their flowers bloom until they are old enough to pick the right one.”

Everyone is wishing him a happy first day of school, and even offering to send him care packages.

Credit: @YatMysterio / Twitter

This new fan is just enamored with him. She tracked down Liz’s Instagram and commented, “Twitter brought me here, amazing kid with a big future ahead. Keep him protected at all cost. I don’t know of your life, but if you are a single parent. You are doing an amazing job 💙 reminds me of the bond I have with my mom. If you can send me anything he likes, books, snacks, toys. I’d love to send him a care package!

Seems like his first day might have been more boring than anticipated.

Credit: @Bjohnsxn_ / Twitter

Just 17 more years to go, pequeño! Chin up! Well, not *that* up. This kid has gotten more bendiciones in one day than most of us have had in our whole lives, so we know he’s going places. He’s been dubbed a “hero” and folks are looking to him “to do soo much in the future.”

Shoutout to this kid for giving Texas something to smile about.

Credit: @_Buhlez / Twitter

Also, Liz, can you write up a brief parenting course for everyone else out here? Brava.

READ: Bad Bunny Just Dropped a Line of Notebooks With Walmart And We are Officially Ready To Head Back To School

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