Gotta Run: Jonathan Martin wants to make two straight wins at Winter Flight

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 28, 2023

Always a very special effort by a quality athlete is needed to win the very competitive Winter Flight 8K, and most often, the winners have to travel a ways to come to Salisbury to race. This hasn’t been the case with the male winner over the last three years since China Grove brothers, twins Matthew and Jonathan Martin, have taken the last three titles.

Matthew just happens to be getting married during the same weekend and will miss the race, but Jonathan is back to defend his title from last year. Jonathan ran the historic rolling course in 24 minutes, 35.45 seconds, a 4 minute 56 second average.

Jonathan, 27, currently lives in Charlotte with his wife Jasmine and dog Pumpkin. He said, “I grew up in China Grove and attended Carson High School. I had a fairly unorthodox start to my running career, essentially using it as a way to condition myself as a tennis player and to lose weight in high school. From there, I developed a passion for training and racing, and eventually earned a roster spot on the UNC Pembroke cross country and track teams. The rest is history! I’ll also mention that my twin brother Matthew has had an almost identical running career to my own.”

Jonathan lists his greatest running/racing experiences so far as getting to compete at the 2018 NCAA D2 cross country championship and running his current half marathon PR of 1:07:30 in Myrtle Beach in 2020.

I asked Jonathan what he does when not racing or training. He said, “My hobbies and interests really overlap with my passion for running. I am the manager over at Fleet Feet Charlotte and I am extremely passionate about the run specialty industry. When I’m not running, I love to travel and explore new places with my wife.”

Goals are always on a competitive runner’s mind. Jonathan wants to continue to set personal bests in the 5K, 10K and half marathon distances while simultaneously trying to qualify for the United States Olympic Trials in the marathon in 2024 or 2028. He will be running his first marathon in Chicago this October.

The 40th Annual New Sarum Brewing Winter Flight races are next Sunday, Feb. 5. Jonathan said, “Winter Flight is special to me due to it being my “hometown” race. I love coming back to Rowan County to reconnect with everyone! I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention how historically competitive the race is!”

Registration will remain open for all three races, the 8K, 5K and half-mile fun run, through several avenues. Online registration is at, and anyone can print off the registration brochure and mail it in through Thursday by going to Race day registration will be held inside Goodman Gym at Catawba College on Sunday from noon until 10 minutes before race time. The fun run starts at 1:30 p.m., a large group of wheelchairs will roll off at 1:58 p.m. and the competitive 8K and 5K health run/walk officially start at 2 p.m.

All participants in the 8K and 5K get long sleeve high quality dri-fit commemorative T-shirts. Awards will be given to the overall and age group winners in the 8K and 5K. The 8K also serves as the North Carolina State Championship 8K. Any age runners and walkers can participate in the half-mile fun run as well. That event is free, and runners, 12 and under, will be eligible for awards, but every finisher will get a participation medal.

As part of the 40th anniversary event, a Winter Flight shirt contest continues until race time. Any runner or volunteer who wears one of the previous 39 year’s commemorative shirts, not already claimed on the website, is eligible for a $250 race day raffle. To participate in the contest, an entrant must wear the shirt for a photo and contact race officials to do so.

To enter the shirt contest, for more information on Winter Flight and any other event, go to