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JR Martinez Starts the NYC Marathon in Last Place

The Iraq war veteran, motivational speaker, and Dancing With The Stars champ takes on the ultimate race challenge.

Find your own goal. “I don’t want to embarrass myself on November 4 in front of millions of people, and I want to raise money for this program. I want to help raise money to teach kids about a healthy lifestyle. How cool is it to say you actually did it, that you attempted it and you did it? My long-term goal is simply to say I want to finish the race in a strong powerful way.”

Trust yourself. “I never did ballroom dancing prior to being on the Dancing With The Stars, and I never ran a marathon prior to this. There were days on the show when I woke up, my feet hurt, and it would take me 20 minutes to get to the bathroom. It was like walking on glass, but I did it and I was able to prove to myself that I could do this. Everything in my life up to this point given me the strength and courage to believe that I’ll get through this if I just push myself to power through.”

But don’t trust your gut. “I’ll tell you what sucks about running: I don’t now what it is, and maybe this is too much information, but all of a sudden I have to use the bathroom in the middle of running. I don’t know what the hell it is—maybe it’s all that bouncing around but what am I going to do on race day? I hope they have Porta Potties lined up. I tell everybody just try not to eat a couple hours before, maybe a banana and water. That’s why you lose weight running marathons.”

Believe in your ability no matter what. “Nine and a half years ago I was in a San Antonio intensive care unit being taught how to walk. Now, not only have I taught myself to walk, but I taught myself to ballroom dance, and I’m about to run 26.2 miles. I don’t care who you are, that shows you can freaking make it, you can do it. There are endless possibilities, you just have to create the new normal for yourself.”

Follow J.R.’s progress and check out his training logs on the TIMEX Sports Facebook page or support New York Road Runners youth programs yourself at



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