Runner overcomes injury: “Don’t give up”

As a long-distance runner, senior Jesus Martinez faced a devastating injury, but with some physical therapy he is finally back on track. SportsHopes honored him with a perseverance award in May. 

Martinez was affected by iliotibial (IT) band syndrome in which ligaments in the thigh rub against bone, causing intense pain. 

In the fall of 2018 following cross country season, Martinez first became aware of his injury. “I got up one morning and I was like, ‘wow it hurts to walk,’” he recalled. “Then I went to school and I got to fifth period and I realized I couldn’t stand up.’” 

Martinez has been running long distance since he came to the Castro Valley School District in seventh grade. He ran for Canyon Middle School’s cross country team as well as for a team connected to his church, and then eventually for CVHS. He says running is a passion of his and that it helps to clear his head. 

 After years of running, the injury appeared in the middle of Martinez’s sophomore year. The pain in his leg was debilitating. It took him a week before he could walk again, a month before he could run a mile, and a grueling half a year of physical therapy before he was fully recovered. Even then, when he started his cross country season in the fall, he faced many harsh setbacks.

“It was devastating to me,” he said. “I couldn’t keep up in long distance. The first couple miles I was fine, but after awhile, I just fell behind.” After so long, Martinez was out of practice and had to retrain himself entirely to get the times he used to. 

The injury to his IT band stems from not stretching before exercise, which Martinez admits was a common practice for him. “It really opened my eyes to stretching before you run,” he chuckled. “The cross country team is known for going straight into the workout, so it’s something that we’ve got to take more seriously, just taking 20 minutes to stretch before we run.” 

Martinez, now a senior, ensures that he sets aside time to stretch when he exercises. He hasn’t ran for CVHS track and field or cross country in the 2020-2021 school year because of the COVID-19 shutdown, but he goes on three runs a week for his own enjoyment. He’s considering running over the summer with the incoming freshmen at CVHS to help them prepare for the upcoming cross country season.

“Don’t give up on what you like to do, even if you have to start from scratch,” said Martinez. 

8 thoughts on “Runner overcomes injury: “Don’t give up”

  • May 22, 2021 at 6:51 pm
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    That’s my awesome dedicated grandson. He was also a lifeguard. And truly an all around great guy! He’s going to do great things.

  • May 21, 2021 at 5:06 pm
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    This is so inspiring and great. Good for him!

  • May 20, 2021 at 1:34 am
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    It’s really inspiring seeing someone of my community come back from something as serious as this.

  • May 19, 2021 at 11:21 pm
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    It takes lots of patience and perseverance to overcome a big injury like this. Great to see Jesus back on track and running at full strength again.

  • May 19, 2021 at 8:42 am
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    Good job Jesus for working toward recovery and continuing to run after such a debilitating injury! I know how hard that is because I had a pretty bad knee injury in Cross Country one year and a broken bone in Track, and after the second one I had to stop running. To choose to keep running after something like that takes devotion! Also it’s good to keep exercising while not on a team.

  • May 18, 2021 at 10:02 am
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    That sounds like it hurts a lot. I’m glad that he decided to keep running, no matter how put down you feel, any type of progress towards getting back to doing what you love is feels great. It also really puts into perspective how much you might have not payed attention to the little things before.

  • May 17, 2021 at 9:47 pm
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    Jesus is an inspiration to keep trying even when you think you’ve reached rock bottom because the only way you can go from there is up. His story reminds me to keep working towards my own goals.

  • May 17, 2021 at 1:00 pm
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    Your persistence and strength is so inspiring!

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