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David Freeze: Gotta Run

Martin twins continue successful running

Jonathan and Matthew Martin from China Grove just caught the attention of the racing world with a fantastic 1-2 finish at the Battleship Half Marathon in Wilmington on Sunday, November 3rd. Jonathan won in a blazing time of 1:10:07 (1st overall) while Matthew was right behind with 1:10:26 (2nd overall). Over 1,000 participants completed the 13.1 mile course.

Jonathan said, “It was a pretty interesting race. Matthew and I had planned on going out together and alternating leading throughout the race. But the plan kind of fell through when my shoe came untied at miles 1 and 4, so I had to stop twice. I believe that this probably cost me 30 seconds or so. I had to work all the way back up to Matthew, who was leading most of the race. Once I caught him at mile 10, I held on to the lead, and came in first place.” Jonathan and Matthew believe their plan could have been put them in 1:09 territory. But all in all, they think it was a successful half marathon debut!

Both Martins will turn 24 on November 28 after graduating from Carson High School in 2014 and from UNC Pembroke in 2019. While at UNCP, they were consistent contributors to the cross country and track teams. Both were a part of the 2018 cross country team that qualified for NCAA Division 2 Nationals in Pittsburgh. Their best times in college were 10K track personal records, with Jonathan running 31:26 just behind Matthew’s 30:48. Matthew also holds a 5K best of 14:52 in the 5K as well.

Neither twin actually ran cross country or track in high school. They got their running started in local Salisbury area 5K races. Jonathan said, “We walked on to UNCP’s team our sophomore year. We earned scholarships to run after our second full year on the team and went back to UNCP for a 5th year to use our remaining eligibility.”

As for what’s next, the Martin twins want to continue pursuing longer distance races, primarily the half marathon. Jonathan said, “We would love to eclipse the 1:08:00 barrier, and maybe even faster. We would love to begin marathoning as well. We have the tentative plan to run our first one in 2021. We have talked about it and would love to run as close to 2:20:00 as possible.” Should they attain this level, their times will be at or near the top of all marathon times previously posted by residents of Rowan County.

Both currently work at running stores. Jonathan is at Fleet Feet in Huntersville while Matthew works at Run for Your Life in the University area. Both want to have careers pertaining to running or in the running shoe industry. They also work for their church, Mt. Zion UCC in China Grove.

Jonathan said, “We just have a lot of love for the sport of running and love the community-driven aspect of it! It has given us so many opportunities and we are so thankful for each and every one.”

Locally, there are several significant races over the next few months. The Forum’s Butterball 5K, the largest in the city limits, is set for Thanksgiving morning at 8:30am. Burning calories on the road opens the door for less concern about overeating later in the day and all runners and walkers are welcome.

Then we switch gears and head for Santa’s 5K Run for Hunger and the North Carolina Bigfoot Reunion at the Millbridge Ruritan Building on Saturday, Dec. 7th. All participants get a pancake breakfast afterwards.

On January 1st, we’re back to The Forum for the Resolution 5K. And January concludes with NC’s oldest 8K and a 5K too at Catawba College on January 26th, the 37th Annual Novant Health Winter Flight. Expect runners and walkers from throughout the southeast for Salisbury’s premier running event.

The Santa 5K, the Resolution 5K and Winter Flight races all benefit Rowan Helping Ministries. For detailed information about these and other events, please go to www.salisburyrowanrunners.org

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