Brendan Martin: Racing on His Home Turf

The TCS New York City Marathon has been 13 years in the making for Smithtown, NY, native Brendan Martin, who will be a part of the professional men’s athlete field on Sunday, November 6.

In 2003, when Martin was a freshman in high school, he received a handout from New York Road Runners after crossing the finish line among the top 10 cross-country competitors in the Manhattan Invite. Later, he was invited to run the New York City Marathon High School Invitational, a 2.5-mile race in Central Park that took place the day of the New York City Marathon and ended at the marathon’s finish line.

“I thought it was so cool to be finishing a race right inside Central Park, which I considered the place to be,” Martin said. “That got me stoked; that’s what planted the seed.” 

The Long Islander and his family were then given bleacher passes for the New York City Marathon finish line, proliferating his interest in what has grown into the world’s largest marathon.

Martin went on to lead Columbia University to an Ivy League conference title in cross country in 2009, at which point Central Park had become his permanent training ground.

He returned to Long Island in 2014 to study physical therapy at Stony Brook University, and that same year, he ran his first race as a member of the New York Athletic Club. He qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials with a personal-best 2:16:28 at the California International Marathon that year before breaking that personal best with a 2:15:30 finish at Grandma’s Marathon the following year.

Martin ran a 2:20:41 at February’s Trials to finish 20th–10 spots higher than his goal.

Following his success over 26.2 miles, his thoughts turned to doing a race closer to home, which in this case meant his dream race, the TCS New York City Marathon.

“I was starting to think, Wow, how have I not done this yet?” he said. “I wanted to make sure I was running my home city marathon at least one time. I’ve done a lot of the big New York races, but I haven’t gotten around to doing the marathon yet. It’s not like I’m 50 or anything, but I am 27 now, and I definitely want to make sure I run it one time as a competitive marathoner at the peak of my career.”

Martin expects his heart to skip a beat when he enters the final three-mile stretch in Central Park–the place that sparked his marathon dream more than a decade ago.

“I’m going to have friends and family out there from the entire span of my life,” Martin said. “Finishing up in Central Park over those hills that I’ve run so many times—that’s going to be more awesome than anything I could ever imagine.”

By Stuart Lieberman

GET YOUR STORIES ON. Read more inspiring stories from runners chronicling their journeys to the TCS New York City Marathon starting line.

TUNE IN. The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon will be televised live on Sunday, November 6, on WABC-TV, Channel 7 in the New York tri-state area from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET, and for the rest of the nation on ESPN2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET.